February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009
Airing: Tuesday 25.06.13
Time: 10:35pm (Duration 1 hour, 10 minutes)
Channel: BBC One
“People found it hard to believe that Mary Poppins with a camera could have taken these pictures. It’s a classic parable of the artist, unsung in life.” BBC – Alan Yentob
How could ‘Mary Poppins’ have taken such sublimely candid pictures? This is the questions the photographic world has been asking it self since the discovery of this unknown ‘nanny’ photographer called Vivian Maier.
Maier’s work was hidden from the world, even from the people she knew. Her secret hobby was obviously something that she worked extensively hard on, that she kept near and dear to her heart.
In 2007 her treasure trove of photographs were discovered by chance in a storage locker and auctioned off cheaply to Chicago historian John Maloof, who is considered to have amassed the greatest portion of her imagery. What most people don’t know is that three people ended up buying portions of her work, John Maloof and Jeffrey Goldstein with the majority of her archive and less recognised is Chicago collector Ron Slattery. Slattery was actually the first person who first brought attention to Maier’s photographs to the public eye with this July 2008 post on his website, Big Happy Funhouse.
Each collector has spent an enormous amount of time sifting through the many 150,00 negatives as well as hundreds of unprocessed film to reveal this secretive street photographer, who is now regarded as one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century.
Now the BBC has made an hours long documentary all about this fascinating women, set to unveil more details about this mysterious photographer. They have described her as ‘The poet of suburbia and secret street photographer who hid her life’s work away’. The documentary is set to air next week Tuesday – 25th June on BBC One. Presented by Alan Yentob, the film includes stories from those who knew her and those who revealed her astonishing work.
Since Vivian Maier’s work went viral, her magical photographs sell for now thousands of dollars and have been displayed in countless galleries across the world. But I’ve always had to question as whether this was the right thing to do, as to whether she would’ve wanted this and it pains me to say that she probably wouldn’t have. Yet her astonishing photographs have given the modern world a new appreciation for street photography in a way that we’ve not seen it before!