Vivian Maier’s incredible body of work would have been unknown to us, if she did not fail to pay her storage payments in old age. As a result, her possessions were auctioned off and this huge body of (mostly undeveloped) photographs was discovered.
Much of her life, spanning from 1926-2009, remains a secret, which is why the posthumous success of her photographs is viewed by some as ethically and morally wrong. After all, she herself did not get to see most of her photographs in developed condition. The fact is that she worked as a nanny, always accompanied by her lens. A child that she took care of later described her as “a real-life Mary Poppins.”
Her work mostly focuses on the 1950s and 1960s world of women and children, with a particular emphasis on the African-American urban experience, as well as special attention to the poor. I am particularly fond of her photographs in color and her self-portraits. This one—in my view—beautifully combines the two.