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A good street photographer must be possessed of many talents: an eye for detail, light, and composition; impeccable timing; a populist or humanitarian outlook; and a tireless ability to constantly shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and never miss a moment. It is hard enough to find these qualities in trained photographers with the benefit of schooling and mentors and a community of fellow artists and aficionados supporting and rewarding their efforts. It is incredibly rare to find it in someone with no formal training and no network of peers.
Yet Vivian Maier is all of these things, a professional nanny, who from the 1950s until the 1990s took over 100,000 photographs worldwide–from France to New York City, to Chicago and dozens of other countries–and yet showed the results to no one. The photos are amazing both for the breadth of the work and for the high quality of the humorous, moving, beautiful, and raw images of all facets of city life in America’s post-war golden age.
It wasn’t until realtor and amateur historian John Maloof stumbled upon a box of anonymous negatives in a Chicago auction house just a few years ago that any of her marvelous work saw the light of day. Presented here for the first time in print, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer collects the first wave of the best of her incredible body of work–much of which still hasn’t been enlarged or in some case even developed into negatives.