New Documentary on the Secret Street Photographer

The last few years have seen the rise of one name from unknown amateur to photography legend — Vivian Maier. Over the course of a lifetime that saw her documenting the world around her, at one point taking photos daily with a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera, she amassed a staggering 150,000 negatives. Most of these have neither been printed nor seen by any other person before their unlikely discovery at a storage location in 2007:

We’ve written about her before, but many of the details of Maier’s life are still being uncovered. The upcoming BBC One documentary, Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny’s Pictures, is another attempt to understand the gifted enigma.

She was a poet of suburbia, a secret street photographer before the term was really invented.

Today, her photos, mostly depicting the streets of Chicago and New York in the 50s and 60s, are celebrated for their simple and honest compositions. Though posthumously, she has taken her place as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, if not, certainly the most intriguing.

Vivian Maier self portrait

The story of Vivian Maier is an inspiring confirmation that, in photography, one does not need expensive education or fancy equipment. One only has to see.

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5 responses to “New Documentary on the Secret Street Photographer”

  1. Damon Loomis says:

    Will the documentary, “Vivian Maier: who took nanny’s pictures”, be available to watch in the USA?

  2. Rebecca says:

    Same question. You have a post about what looks like a fantastic documentary but then don’t tell us how to see it.

  3. Mike Armstrong says:

    As above . When is it on please or how to we see it ???

  4. Matt Womersley says:

    It is on BBC tonight at 22:35 (GMT). The BBC puts a lot of its programmes on its IPlayer for watching up to seven days after theyve aired, but I don’t think you can get access to this outside of the UK because of our tv licences rules. Worth checking though.

  5. Norman Avena says:

    Thanks, Matt, for clearing that up. It is still currently airing on BBC One, as I write. But as previously mentioned, online access outside the UK is not allowed.

    As for the rest of us, let’s just hope that the documentary finds its way online or gets a DVD release.

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