I am a massive fan of Vivian Maier’s work and as the BBC point out, ‘She’s been called ‘the greatest photographer you’ve never heard of’… the mysterious Vivian Maier, a nanny based in Chicago who took about 150,000 photographs in her lifetime and stashed them away, not showing them to anyone.
She left thousands not even developed, and most as negatives from which she never made prints.
It was sheer accident that her life’s work was discovered.
Two years before she died in 2009, Vivian Maier stopped paying the rent on five storage lockers in Chicago. Without her knowledge the contents were sold.
At locker sales, you have to stand at the door and buy without touching. So auctioneer Roger Gunderson saw only a jumble of boxes and suitcases:
“A Paris sticker on one trunk caught my eye. I thought maybe there’s going to be some perfume or jewellery.”
Gunderson bought the lot for $250 – “a truck and a half load of stuff”, he says: papers, magazines and thousands upon thousands of photographs.
People who then bought them at auction posted a few online. Before long, Vivian Maier went viral. Now her prints sell for thousands of dollars/pounds a piece’.
Tonight on BBC One at 10.35 pm (BST) you can see the latest documentary of life. It will also be available to catch up later on BBC iPlayer (if you don’t have this app, you must download it – click here).