Vivian Maier

Fall, 1953 New York, by Vivian Maier

Nowadays online digital technologies enable us to share and critique images instantly and refer to them over and over again in many different places, at the same time. If Vivian Maier had been alive today she would have been admired for her street photography. She wasn't able to use a smartphone to review and upload her work to her followers, Maier shot film. She took more than 100,000 photographs of people and city-scapes in Chicago, documenting five decades of her life. Unfortunately many of her photographs remained undeveloped and unseen, until a local Chicago historian and collector, John Maloof, came across them when he bought a box of negatives at an auction.

Maier's photographs consist mainly of street scenes in Chicago and New York in the 1950s and 1960s. She enjoyed using the reflections in shop windows as part of her photographic style, including self-portraits.

Self-portrait - Vivian Maier, 1971

The unfortunate story of this previously unknown photographer is a stark reminder to all of us to ensure that our photographs aren't entombed on computer hard drives and memory cards, never to see the light of day or monitor. Photographs should be taken to be shared and enjoyed, whether they are printed into an album for personal use or publish on the internet.