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Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. (more)

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Vivian had an amazing secret

Famous After Death

 #4 - Vivian Maier 


Vivian Maier was a Nanny.

That was literally the extent of her professional life. The work that she was paid for at least. In her spare time, and even when working with children under her care in tow, Vivian took photographs of street life, mostly in New York. She was particularly interested in people. They were often unaware that they were being photographed, at least not until after the shot had been taken. 

Sept. 29, 1959

She held her box camera at stomach height and did not draw attention to the fact, even though she was close to the subject. Often her subjects are looking directly at her but not the camera (as evidenced right). 

Sometimes the subjects seem annoyed. Sometimes they are posing. Perhaps it depended upon Vivian's mood or the potential mood of the subject. Either way, her work is incredible.


She was obsessed with documenting the street and the times. She took over 150,000 photographs. She also shot a lot of Super 8 mm and kept boxes upon boxes of newspaper clippings. She seemed attracted to the dark side of human nature and often kept stories of crimes like rape and murder. She then visited the site where they took place and photographed it.

In one instance, the child she was minding was hit by a car. The boy wasn’t seriously hurt but it was enough for the police and ambulance to arrive. Vivian meticulously photographed the scene. She didn’t mind the odd selfie either, often reflected in windows or mirrors.

It’s unclear if she showed her photographs to others but it was certainly a secret to her employers that she lived with. None of her amazing shots were published in her lifetime, nor exhibited anywhere. It’s not simply the amount of photographs she took but the artistry contained within them. They are beautifully framed and she selected fascinating subjects. She had a great eye, which is evident.

Vivian died alone, an eccentric pauper in 2009, aged 83. 
Her reputation grows every year and her work is exhibited all over the world.


There’s much more to discover about the enigmatic woman in the documentary Finding Vivian Maier, which I highly recommend. The official website of her photographic work is here

You should ask the big questions

Inside out is not the way to live

You pose the big questions
Receive few answers.

Those who commit
Make it stick
While those who need (daresay deserve) it most
Slip into the trough
Of insecurity
Tumbling, languishing
Brilliant yet flawed.

Masks have their place
No need to strip everything back
Facing fears is a T-shirt slogan
Salvation does not always wait
Under agony stripped layers
Merely exposes more flesh
And pulsing vulnerability.

Leave me now
And dripping
A squirming, spiralling cocoon
As long as there is opportunity
To create

More Mistakes.

Comments, thoughts, always welcomed. (Unless by trolls. You guys need counselling)

More Poetry


MH-17: A Poem for the Taken

The United

Scattered nations
Scattered remnants
Shredded metal
White flags and body bags
The cold indoctrinated hover with hardware
Absurdly camouflaged
As though we cannot see what they are.

All a charade for the theatre rats
The stories are already terminated
Prior to conclusions
And jubilant peaks
And natural downs
Hearts of longing
Dreams out of reach
But within sight
Others still yet to dream.

Varying tongues and colours
Genes and ideas
Universally wrapped
In location
With a common goal
A succinct pilgrimage
Outcomes innocently undetermined
Now fastened as one
Ironically stitched by the severance
A sealed collective
Bound in our memory’s
Cottoned in compassion
Pooled in tears
And the endless abyss of our affections.

It’s a Journey without end
In perpetuity
The United.