vivian maier.

1:27 PM

In 2008 an auction house in Chicago included in their catalogue a collection of black and white photo prints from the 1930s through to the 1990s, together with a box of over 1,000 undeveloped Kodak Tri-X 120 films, of no apparent interest to anyone apart from photographers.

"I go to this auction house often to pick up antique items and such," said John Maloof, "but I was working on a project that day that required historic photos of the neighborhood so I was looking for old local photos at that time."

Intrigued by the story of the collection having been discovered abandoned in a storeroom, he studied the work a little more closely and realised that this was something very special. He bought the entire collection, unaware at the time of who the photographer was.

Not until several months later, while he was working through the rolls of undeveloped film, did he discover Maier's name written on a photolab envelope tucked in amongst the collection. He contacted the auction house and asked if he might get in contact with the photographer. He discovered she was ill, so, thinking it might be intrusive to disturb her, he went back to working on the films.

Again he tried to find her, fascinated by her work. Still drawing a blank he finally Googled her name, only to find her obituary published in the Chicago Tribune. She had died just three days before his online search.


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  1. I just discovered her work - so amazing!

  2. she's amazing! and this whole story is very inspiring.


  3. I love when things like this happen. It's like discovering you are walking down a street in your home town that you never knew existed....