BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **** out of ****
Vivian Maier died in a Chicago nursing home in 2009 in her eighties without ever having published her work, without ever having seen thousands of the images she shot and without owning a single negative—everything had been unceremoniously sold at auction along with the rest of her worldly possessions for a few hundred bucks a box once she was injured in a fall. Cheap, considering she had taken well over 100,000 images with her trusty, stealthy Rolleiflex from the late 1940s until some time in the 1990s.
When a historian and second-generation flea marketer, John Maloof, started scanning some of the negatives he'd bought in 2007, he sensed they were good. How good, he wasn't sure. Until posting a batch on Flickr, when users flipped out, reassuring him he had unearthed the work of a brilliant photographer. He bought up as much of Maier's output from other buyers as he could, eventually winding up with about 90% of it. Next, he began cataloguing everything—no easy task since Maier, about whom he knew absolutely nothing, had apparently been a packrat.
When her obituary pinged his Google search in 2009, Maloof learned a bit more about Maier—she'd been a nanny, a private figure, French.
But what else? And had she seen herself as an artist?