Large Hat

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Who was the street photographer who's work wasn't discovered until after she died?

She shot all black and white street photography. I believe she shot mostly in the '70's, but her work wasn't discovered until recent years and is already considered one of the best street photographers ever.

Best Answer...


Maier was a Chicago-based, French-born photographer who died in April this year, who spent years capturing the streets of Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s with her 120 film camera.

A Chicago photographer, John Maloof, recently purchased thousands of her negatives from a small furniture and antique auction house which was selling off most of Vivian’s worldly goods, including her furniture.

According to Maloof, the auction house acquired the belongings from her storage locker which was sold off due to ‘delinquent payments.’

She was still alive in hospital at this time of the sale, although died shortly afterwards.

The collection added up to around 30,000-40,000 negatives, with 10-15,000 of these still in rolls, undeveloped from the 1960′s-1970′s.

Maloof has been busy processing these images, with the task of cataloguing the work helped by the date and location pencilled (in French) on the sleeves.

He’s also been researching the photographer’s life, but few details have emerged: there appears to be no living family, and an obituary that appeared in a Chicago paper was probably placed by people who employed her as a nanny.

Arriving in America in the early 1930s, Maier apparently wore a men’s jacket, men’s shoes and a large hat most of the time, and had strong opinions for women’s rights, was something of a loner who loved foreign films but didn’t care much for American films.