I learned about Vivian Maier at This American Life Live last week. The story was about a guy, John Maloof, who in 2007 bid $400 at an auction for 30,000 negatives from an old storage locker in Chicago. They belonged to Maier, a nanny from France who was old and dying. Then he started printing off her negatives. Each was clearer and more intricate than the last. Then she died.
She was sort of a hoarder - kept old newspapers & all her negatives, though most of her photos hadn’t been printed or seen by anyone. More than anything it seemed she was obsessed with compulsively documenting her life and the world around her at that time. She took photos on the street, but also of signs, of prices, of herself, of her taxes. A nostalgist, like me. If only we could all document so precisely.
You can see a portfolio of hers of New York here and a video slideshow by Maloof here.