Chicago nanny Vivian Maier, who died in 2009, might be the Emily Dickinson of black-and-white photography.
Dickinson, acknowledged as one of the giants of American poetry, wrote almost 1,800 poems, but only a handful were published while she lived. The rest were discovered after her death in 1886.
Maier took more than 100,000 photographs of street life in Chicago, but apparently never attempted to show them, and even left thousands undeveloped. The accidental discovery of those photographs by a Chicago real estate agent and historian eventually led to an international sensation.
“The release of every fresh image on the Web causes a sensation among the growing legion of her admirers,” wrote a photography blogger for The New York Times, and a review in the same publication called her “a new candidate for the pantheon of great 20th-century street photographers.”
Soon Roanoke Valley residents won’t have to travel far to experience this new photography phenom. “Photographs of Vivian Maier” opens with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday at the O. Winston Link Museum and remains until May 6.
“They are truly a time capsule of mid-century Chicago and one woman’s experience as she traveled its streets,” wrote Link Museum Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Erin Wommack in an email.