People who frequent thrift stores, junk shops, yard sales, and auctions often dream of coming across an undiscovered work by a famous artist. In 2007, it happened—sort of—to Chicago real estate agent John Maloof when he purchased an archive of nearly 40,000 photos, negatives, and rolls of film at an auction. What he found was far more interesting and exciting than a little-known piece by a master; it was the entire catalog of the work of Vivian Maier, a French-born nanny who took photographs on the streets of Chicago and New York City, mostly in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Maloof began the arduous task of processing the film and sharing Maier’s remarkable work via a blog and a few other projects now in the works. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about his discovery.