photography treasure

Saw this story on fb this week and it's so wonderful! Some random guy buys a box of negatives at an auction and discovers "perhaps the most important street photographer of the twentieth century...a nanny who kept everything to herself." He discovered her photographs in 2007 and she died in 2009 before he figured out that her name was Vivian Maier.

Apparently (especially from the sheer volume of her work) she spent a lot of time walking the streets and taking pictures, but she never shared them (with anyone?), and many were even left undeveloped. This must be a case of truly enjoying the process of taking pictures, among other things. It's impossible to imagine that she could keep her photography a secret from the people who knew her. Anyone who has ever traveled with me, or even been around me for 10 minutes, knows I love to take pictures and I have no idea how I could ever do it secretly.

Her street photography skills are impressive. I wonder what (if anything) she said to people before, during or after she took their photograph. I am usually embarrassed and feel like a creep if people know I'm taking their picture so I just try to be really sneaky. Partly because when people do know, they often become awkward, self-conscious, and unnatural looking. So many of the people in her portraits look so real yet aware that she is there. Then a few people do look confused, surprised, annoyed and/or angry (too late, people, she already stole your soul).

She took brilliant portraits, editorial shots (even of a few uber-celebs like Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra), architectural and travel photographs. She also took great selfies.

There's something so mysterious and sort of beautiful about the fact that she didn't share her pictures, and it's especially impossible to fathom in today's share-everything-you-think-see-and-do era, but I also think that it's sad and maybe a little selfish that she kept these hidden away.

Anyway, there are about a million amazing photographs and you should go check them out on her site (which I think that dude created for her).

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