Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vivian Maier, A marvel and a mystery

John Maloof stumbled across a box of dusty old negatives at a antique auction on what must of seemed like any normal Saturday, little did he know the box contained some truly amazing photos of Chicago from the 50s and 60s, some photos that have been kept in the dark for far too long, now, as he slowly scans and uploads them onto the blog he created for Vivian's catalogue of work her own story slowly starts to unravel...

It took him days to look through all of her work and even inspired him to pick up a camera and start shooting for himself. John also bought her same camera and took to the same streets soon to realize how difficult it was to make images of her caliber. John says "I discovered the eye she had for photography through my own practice. Needless to say, I am attached to her work"

As for Vivian herself and her photos here is what John has uncovered thus far....

The auction house acquired her belongings from her storage locker that was sold off due to delinquent payments. After some researching John figured out that Central Camera (110 yr old camera shop in Chicago) had encountered Vivian from time to time when she would purchase film. From what they knew of her, she was standoffish but outspoken at the same time. She lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood, in Chicago.

John has about 30-40,000 negatives in the collection, about 15,000 of these are still in rolls, undeveloped from the 1960's-1970's. John has been successfully developing these rolls with about 600 yet to develop.

Sadly John owned the photos for a year before he decided to google this amazing woman and track her down. He was shocked to find she passed away just a week before his search began leaving a lot of question unanswered forever.... I hope you enjoy her photos as much as i have, Ive placed a small sample above, you can find the rest of her collection, growing by the day thanks to Johns dedication to this project here on blogger.


  1. I know its amazing isnt it! I'll do a follow up story soon, i sense there's more to Vivien yet! x

  2. those are great captures. i love old photos.

    p.s. i'm not sure if you saw this yet but some awesome polaroid art is on poppytalk today:

    peace & love!