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From The New Yorker article: 

 

"A photograph is a secret about a secret,” Diane Arbus said. In the case of Vivian Maier, the photographer was a secret, too. From the nineteen-fifties until a few years before she died, in 2009, destitute at the age of eighty-three, Maier took at least a hundred and fifty thousand pictures, mostly in Chicago, and showed them to nobody. It’s telling, perhaps, that one of her favorite motifs was to shoot her own shadow. For decades, she supported herself as a nanny in the wealthy enclaves of the city. But her real work was roaming the streets with her camera (often with her young charges in tow), capturing images of sublime spontaneity, wit, and compositional savvy. When pressed about her occupation by a man she once knew, Maier didn’t describe herself as a nanny. She said, “I am sort of a spy.” All the best street photographers are.

 

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