To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Surprising Discovery

His name is Jeff Maloof.
It's a simple but intriguing story. Delinquent payments caused the contents of a storage locker to be auctioned off. He had no idea what a visual treasure he had just purchased.
Over 100,000 medium format negatives
1000's of prints
Boxes of undeveloped film
For months he had no idea who the photographer was. Finally, he unearthed an old photo lab envelop. He googled her name and her obituary was the first thing to come up. She had died just a few days before.
Her name was Vivian Maier. She was a Chicago street photographer from the 1950's until the the early 1990's.
She was born in New York and would grow up between that US city and the country of France. She would become a nanny and spend her free time taking pictures. She loved foreign films and didn't have a high opinion of American films. She has been described as a very opinionated feminist.
She was an amazing photographer but most of her work was never seen. By anyone. Looking at her images is seeing history frozen for that moment...the fashion, the landscape, the stories...the world as she saw it.
This is one of my favorites. Just look at the set to the woman's jaw as she stares down the young police officer.

 This one is so dreamy and magical...the carriage awaits for a modern day Cinderella.
 The dirty windows and sweet faces...such a contrast.
 And this surreal!
You can view more of her photos on the blog site Mr. Maloof updates regularly. And if you're like me you'll be waiting for the release of the book and documentary.
I'm captivated.


BeckyJ said...

Oh yes, I've been waiting for this post! Please let me know if you find out about a documentary or book. I love these pictures.

You should check out the documentary I posted about over the weekend. You'll love the look back at 50's Americana.

Lori Warman said...

I've been following this blog already, that's funny. The story was very intriguing.

Rob said...

The woman sparring with the cops is not a woman. It's Mel Brooks!