Chicago nanny Vivian Maier died in 2009, leaving behind 100,000 negatives that no one but she had ever seen. Her work was discovered by chance, and now the photographs she took on her days off are being hailed as 'ranking up there' with the best in 20th-century street photography.
The story of Vivian Maier is so incredible that the man who discovered her says: "If you made this up for Hollywood it would be like, 'Oh, come on, that's too hard to believe.' She is," he adds, "the most riveting person I have ever encountered."
This is 29-year-old John Maloof, a former estate agent from Chicago who has devoted the last four years to unravelling Maier's story. His obsession began in 2007, the year he placed a $400 bid on a box of old negatives in an auction, hoping they might be useful for a book on Chicago's history that he was co-authoring. "Nothing was pertinent for the book so I thought: 'Well, this sucks, but we can probably sell them on eBay or whatever.'"
It was only when the book was finished a few months later that he looked at the negatives again and slowly realised he was in possession of something unimaginably precious. He began printing and posting Maier's photographs to a blog , which he describes as "a snowball that just started rolling and has just been building ever since. Experts started chiming in and they said, 'Holy cow, this is… huge."
Read More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jan/16/vivian-maier-chicago-street-photography
See gallery in full screen here:
Watch CBS Video on Vivian Maier here:
UPDATE: Here are MORE of Vivian's remarkable photographs...