Tuesday, October 13

Vivian Maier – lost photos from Chicago

These fascinating photos are by Vivian Maier, a French-born photographer who died in April 2009 in Chicago, where she had lived for 50 years.

A Chicago photographer, John Maloof, recently purchased around 40,000 of her negatives from a small auction house that was selling all her possessions, including furniture. He is gradually going through the negs, which date from the 1950s to 1970s and posting selected pictures on a blog.

The pictures do not seem to have shown in her lifetime; in fact Maloof only found out her name as it was written on a photo-lab envelope. Also, there are around 1000 rolls of her 120 film that were never developed, which Maloof is working his way through.

Research into the photographer’s life has yielded few details so far – she seems to have no living family, and an obituary that appeared in a Chicago paper was probably placed by people she worked for as a nanny. Maloof was contacted by a researcher who said that she was a Jewish refugee from wartime France, was a loner and poor.

Shocking to think that this collection could easily have ended up in skip and never seen...

Edit: 15 October 2009 - John Maloof has now added a more detailed account of how he came by the pictures on the blog...

Tuesday, October 6

The ongoing characters (continued)

Going through my country show pictures can throw up surprises as the same faces turn up again and again in different guises...