The Book

John Maloof, who unearthed Maier’s work, edited the book, which features a selection of her finest photographs. The compilation includes an introduction penned by Maloof and an essay by Geoff Dyer, along with the photographs that are arranged thematically. The images range from mundane urban settings to intimate portraits, capturing a diverse array of subjects.

Unveiling the Hidden Genius: Vivian Maier’s Magnum Opus of the 1950s

Vivian Maier‘s career as a street photographer started in the 1950s, a period of significant social and cultural changes. This remarkable artist went on a secret mission, capturing over 100,000 photographs around the world, from the streets of France to the busy streets of New York City and Chicago, and many other places. It is astonishing that she kept her vast photographic collection hidden from the public, sharing her perspective with no one.

Maier’s work stands out not only for its broad range but also for the exceptional clarity of the images she captured. Her photographs rise above the ordinary, providing viewers with a glimpse into the amusing, touching, beautiful, and unvarnished aspects of American urban life during the post-war golden era.

Not long ago, Vivian Maier’s work was brought to light due to the tireless dedication of local historian John Maloof. Maloof’s chance discovery of a box of Maier’s negatives at a Chicago auction house triggered a mission to unearth and promote her exceptional talent. This quest eventually resulted in the publication of “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer,” which showcases a carefully selected collection of her previously unseen masterpieces. In acknowledgment of her remarkable contribution to the world of photography, John Maloof’s documentary “Finding Vivian Maier” received a well-deserved Academy Award nomination in 2015.

Vivian Maier’s Enigmatic Life

Although her work has received recognition, the life of Vivian Maier remains a mystery. Born in New York in 1926, she worked as a nanny for a family on Chicago’s North Shore during the 1950s and 1960s. Maier had no known family of her own, but the children she cared for later became her caregivers in her later years. During her lifetime, she took hundreds of thousands of photographs, but chose to keep them hidden from the world. Tragically, she lost possession of her art when her storage locker was auctioned off due to non-payment. Maier passed away in 2009 at the age of 83.

John Maloof, the historian and street photographer behind the discovery and preservation of Vivian Maier’s legacy, is not only dedicated to historic preservation in Chicago’s Northwest Side, where his journey with Maier’s work began, but is also passionate about documenting the city’s urban landscape.

The book “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer” not only serves as an art tome but also pays homage to a hidden master, a woman who relentlessly captured the intricate nuances of life with remarkable insight. It encourages readers to immerse themselves in the world of a talent that surpasses formal training and conventional notions of the art of photography. Maier’s oeuvre stands as a testament to the enduring might of art and the indomitable spirit of a true artist, a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer – A Journey Through Captivating Moments

John Maloof’s groundbreaking publication, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, unveils the remarkable work of the late nanny who captured the essence of city life in America’s post-war golden age through her lens. Despite having no formal training or network of peers, Maier managed to take over 100,000 photographs spanning several decades and various countries, and her work has now been brought to light by Maloof, a local historian. The book showcases the life and work of an exceptional artist, shedding light on her genius and artistic mastery.

Vivian Maier was born in 1926 in New York, and during the 1950s and 1960s, she worked as a nanny on Chicago’s North Shore. Although not much is known about her personal life, her incredible talent for capturing mesmerizing moments through the lens of her camera is evident. Her unique ability to evoke humor, emotion, and raw beauty in her photographs of city life has been widely recognized. Maier had an exceptional eye for detail, light, and composition, and her impeccable timing set her apart as a true virtuoso of street photography.

The Discovery of Vivian Maier’s Negatives

It wasn’t until John Maloof discovered a box of Vivian Maier’s negatives at a Chicago auction house that her work began to receive the recognition it deserved. Recognizing the importance of her photographs, Maloof devoted himself to collecting and promoting her captivating images. His efforts were rewarded with a nomination for an Academy Award for the documentary film “Finding Vivian Maier” in 2015. Now, for the first time, a curated selection of Maier’s most outstanding and previously unseen photographs is being presented in the book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer.

The book “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer” is a captivating tribute to the art of street photography and the exceptional talent of an artist who has remained underappreciated for too long. Maier’s unmatched skill in capturing the ephemeral moments of human life elevates her photographs beyond temporal constraints, presenting a nostalgic glimpse into the lives and emotions of people from the past. This book not only honors Maier’s artistic prowess but also serves as a reminder of the profound impact that art can have in unveiling hidden treasures and touching the hearts of those who encounter it.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer – A Classic Book on Street Photography

The book “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer” is a classic that delves into the life and work of the renowned street photographer, Vivian Maier. It is the first to showcase her unique street photography style, which captured the world’s attention. To become a successful street photographer, one must possess many essential skills, such as a keen eye for detail, light, and composition, the ability to capture the perfect moment with impeccable timing, a humanistic or populist approach, and a relentless drive to constantly shoot and never miss a moment.

Vivian Maier was a professional nanny who took over 100,000 photographs worldwide from the 1950s until the 1990s. She captured city life in America’s post-war golden age in France, New York City, Chicago, and dozens of other countries. Despite her lack of formal training and network of peers, she had all the qualities of a good street photographer.

John Maloof: The Historian Who Unearthed Vivian Maier’s Work

A local historian named John Maloof discovered the work of Vivian Maier only after purchasing a box of her negatives from a Chicago auction house. Maloof became an advocate for her work and collected it. The book is made more interesting by essays that offer insights into Maier’s life and the various interests and influences that shaped her art.

In summary, “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer” is a valuable resource for those interested in street photography or photography in general. It provides an in-depth look into the life and work of Vivian Maier, making it an excellent guide for those looking to learn more. Additionally, its high-quality photography makes it a great coffee table book that can be enjoyed by anyone with an appreciation for beautiful imagery.


“Her work alternately brings to mind Lisette Model, Leon Levinstein, Harry Callahan, Garry Winogrand, Weegee, Helen Levitt, and Robert Frank. But the uncracked nut at the core of her mystery is this: Why didn’t Vivian Maier show anyone her pictures?” – Wall Street Journal. “Show-cased in the new book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, out this month from powerHouse-rivet the viewer with the extreme vulnerability of her subjects.” – Vanity Fair.

“An unassuming Chicago baby sitter named Vivian Maier was one of the pioneers of street photography.  But for 60 years, nobody knew it.” – The New York Times Style Magazine. “[Maier] is gifted visual thinking with a strong sense of self. Through [her] lens, self-shadows and window reflections are deftly composed more about context than the figure at the center” – American Photo. “Saved from obscurity, the work of an unknown street photographer is, at last, coming out of the shadows.” – Anthony Mason, CBS News.

“An undiscovered artist whose photography is now being compared to the giants, a reclusive woman who, in death, is attracting the kind of attention and acclaim she would have shunned in life.” “A combination of straight forward portraits, mirrored reflections, and abstract self-portrayals, the collection… Attempts to put a face to the name that’s most recently captured the photography world’s attention” – The Huffington Post.

The Legacy of Vivian Maier: Street Photographer

A groundbreaking book, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, introduced the world to the remarkable life and work of Vivian Maier, a professional nanny who captured over 100,000 photographs from the 1950s to the 1990s, documenting city life in America’s post-war golden age. Despite having no formal training or network of peers, Maier possessed the talents of a great street photographer, with an eye for detail, light, composition, and impeccable timing. Her photographs remained unseen until local historian John Maloof discovered a box of her negatives and began championing her work. The book showcases the best of Maier’s incredible and previously unseen body of work.

Vivian Maier’s life is surrounded by mystery, but it is known that she was born in New York in 1926 and worked as a nanny in Chicago during the 1950s and 1960s. She took hundreds of thousands of photographs, but never shared them with anyone. Unfortunately, Maier lost possession of her art when her storage locker was sold. She passed away in 2009 at the age of 83. John Maloof, author of the book, is a street photographer and historian involved in preserving Chicago’s Northwest Side. He discovered Maier’s negatives while researching his neighborhood’s history. The book has received critical acclaim and was accompanied by a documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015.

The Allure of Street Photography

The story of Vivian Maier, as well as the genre of street photography, has received considerable attention. Street photography involves capturing unposed moments in public areas, frequently reflecting the social and cultural fabric of a city. It necessitates a keen sense of observation, timing, and composition. Several photographers have played a crucial role in the development of street photography, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, and Daido Moriyama. The genre continues to progress with the emergence of digital photography and social media platforms, providing new avenues for photographers to showcase their work and connect with a global audience.

Photography books, such as Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, are vital in preserving and exhibiting the work of gifted photographers. They provide a platform for photographers to share their perspective, narratives, and insights with a broader public. Photography books can function as sources of inspiration and education for aspiring photographers, as well as a means of appreciation for photography enthusiasts. They also contribute to the documentation and comprehension of diverse cultures, societies, and historical periods through visual storytelling. With the advancement of technology, photography books have also embraced digital formats, enabling interactive and immersive experiences for readers.


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Vivian Maier: Street Photographer and street photography as a genre demonstrate the power of capturing everyday moments and the significance of preserving and sharing photographic art. Maier’s work provides a unique perspective on urban life and showcases the extraordinary talent of a photographer who remained largely unknown during her lifetime. The book highlights the enduring influence of street photography and the ability of images to evoke emotions and connect with viewers across different eras.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer by John Maloof and Geoff Dyer. Flexibound: 136 pages. Publisher: PowerHouse Books, 2nd part edition (November 16, 2011).

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