Last week I watched the fascinating BBC Imagine documentary about Vivien Maier “Who took Nannys pictures?”
Vivien was an enigmatic character who not even the families who employed her as a nanny knew much about.
Vivien Maier self portrait
It appeared she had no relationships, family or friends and used her spare time walking the street of 1940’s and 50’s Chicago, documenting the city and it’s people. She would often take her self down town to some of the most poor and dangerous areas of the city, capturing the down and outs and misfits who populated the areas. As one of the contributors of the programme said, she was capturing life through photography and dealing with the disappearing moment. Her subjects were often of parents with their children or lovers caught in an embrace. It seems as though she was capturing the life she wished she had, possibly?
Born in New York in 1929, she died in the early part of this century. The date is unknown but people who recognised her and had spotted her wandering the streets of Chicago with carrier bags and books, had thought she was possibly homeless. It seems like a sad and lonely life with a tragic demise but she has certainly left an amazing legacy, which has now spawned exhibitions and books.