What if one of the most important street photographers of the 20th century was a 1950s children’s nanny who kept herself to herself and never showed a single one of her photographs to anyone?
Decades later in 2007, a Chicago real estate agent and historical hobbyist, John Maloof purchased a box of never-seen, never-developed film negatives of an unknown ‘amateur’ photographer for $380 at his local auction house.
John began developing his new collection of photographs, some 100,000 negatives in total, that had been abandoned in a storage locker in Chicago before they ended up at the auction house. It became clear these were no ordinary street snaps of 1950s & 60s Chicago and New York and so John embarked on a journey to find out who was behind the photographs and soon discovered her name: Vivien Maier.
July 4th 1950, Santa Monica, California, photo by Ralph Crane
contact prints on printing-out paper from vintage glass plate negatives of Solar Eclipse from the collection of The Lick Observatory
1893-1910, prints made 1977-1996
X-Ray of broken right femur, c.1916 by an unknown artist.
"This photograph, inscribed Dargent Gosselin and dated October 14, 1916, is a print from a large X-ray negative of a severely fractured femur. It shows the soft tissue of the patient’s buttocks, the faint shadow of an undergarment, the bone broken in three sharp pieces, and the wire mesh sling used to immobilize the injured area. Although the patient’s sex cannot be determined, the date suggests a soldier wounded in World War I."
"Robert Capa, Spanish Civil War, Barcelona 1936. The boy is wearing a cap of the Steel Battalions, of the "Union de Hermans Proletarios" (Union of Proletarian Brothers), an anarchist militia."
"Yebichai, patient in sweat bath: Indian wrapped in blanket with medicine man and another man standing over him.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 1904.