Looking at the street photography of Vivian Maier

Sometimes I feel really out of it.

I follow a lot of economic and political news. I analyze a lot of census data. I keep in touch as best I can with some trends in contemporary music and try to be a culturally literate person.

But then I see something big — really amazing — that I have somehow missed entirely.

That’s how I felt earlier today when my friend Jason Nielubowicz sent a link to a post at Messy Nessic Chic about the work of street photographer Vivian Maier.

Maier worked as a nanny for decades, but no one she worked for knew that she was amassing a huge body of street photographs and videos shot in various neighborhoods in Chicago and New York. The work would have been lost from history if a box of undeveloped negatives hadn’t been randomly purchased at auction by John Maloof.

I’m not going to post any of the photos here without permission, but you can see some extraordinary work at Messy Nessy Chic or just go straight to the Vivian Maier archive that has been posthumously created (Maier died in 2009, before anyone saw any of these photos). There have also been a plethora of press reports about Maier, all of which I managed to miss.

And there’s a documentary in the works, Finding Vivian Maier, the official trailer for which has been viewed over 400,000 times:

Pretty remarkable stuff.