Vivian Maier: lost art of an urban photographer – On BBC One Tonight – June 25, 2013

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).




Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]


  • Carlos

    Wonder what Vivian would thought of all this attention. Hope we can watch the show here in USA. Will try downloading the app.

  • Laurence Zankowski


    This work along with a few other outside artists from that era, where embarked on learning a visual language that came from deep intuitive explorations.

    Vivian fits right into what Scorsese has been saying lately about watching the old films. There was no language and these folks were discovering aspects of an ancient symbology with their work and subsequent exhibiting of it.

    They were unfettered by main stream group mentatlity. We need less snapping of images and more thought into why.

    Be well


    • gina costa

      I know the guys who bought the storage locker of her films/etc. What a story!

  • Tracy Mitchell Griggs

    The good news is that the work was salvaged. The sad thing, is that a woman artist’s lifetime of work, was almost lost to history. I am happy that a docu crew made a film and can’t wait to see it.