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Chance Purchase At Auction Reveals Photographic National Treasure

1954, New York, NY

A chance purchase at auction has unearthed a photographic national treasure. 

Imagine this – perhaps the most important street photographer of the twentieth century was a nanny who kept everything to herself. Nobody had ever seen her work and she was a complete unknown until the time of her death.

For decades Vivian’s work hid in the shadows until decades later (in 2007), historical hobbyist John Maloof bought a box full of never developed negatives at a local auction for $380.

John began to develop the negatives and it didn’t take long before he realised that these were no ordinary street snapshots from the 50’s and 60’s — these pictures were a lot more then that.

Maier’s work is particularly evocative for those who grew up in the 50′s and 60′s because she seemed to stare deep into the soul of the time and preserve the everyday experience of the people. She ventured outside the comfortable homes and picturesque residential neighborhoods of her employers to document all segments of life in and around the big city.

Read more and view some of the wonderful pictures of 1950’s America here.

Simon Ludgate
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