PHOTOS: Vivian Maier the unknown photographer

The Chicago History Museum is exhibiting the work of photographer Vivian Maier through September. The photographs were taken all over Chicago.

Vivian Maier was an unknown photographer. Her work was not discovered until belongings in a storage locker were auctioned off shortly before her death. Not much is known about her early life. Vivian Maier was born in New York and spent her childhood in France. She eventually settled in Chicago and became a nanny to several North Shore families, including television personality Phil Donahue.

Ms. Maier used her days off and other spare time to wander Chicago taking photographs with a Rollei twin lens reflex camera. She also traveled the world taking photographs. It is estimated there are well over 100,000 images, negatives, and still undeveloped rolls of film attributed to her. There is some speculation that she stopped developing film as processing costs rose.

Vivian Maier first came to prominence when local realtor and historian John Maloof purchased some boxes at an auction. He discovered the images, undeveloped film, and negatives and was blown away. He eventually returned to buy more of Ms. Maier's boxes.

Mr. Maloof put some of the images on the internet where they went viral. Other collectors were able to purchase some of the boxes and they too started displaying Ms. Maier's work.

Vivian Maier's work has been exhibited world wide and is the subject of two books.The photographs have been praised and the subject of critical acclaim through out the world. It is speculated the reason they are so powerful is Vivian Maier took them for herself. She had no agents, agencies, gallery owners, or others in the photographic world to please.

More can be learned about Vivian Maier and her images here.

The photographs below are some of the images in the exhibition.



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