The definitive biography that unlocks the remarkable story of Vivian Maier, the nanny who lived secretly as a world-class photographer, featuring nearly 400 of her images, many never seen before, placed for the first time in the context of her life.
Vivian Maier, the photographer nanny whose work was famously discovered in a Chicago storage locker, captured the imagination of the world with her masterful images and mysterious life. Before posthumously skyrocketing to global fame, she had so deeply buried her past that even the families she lived with knew little about her. No one could relay where she was born or raised, if she had parents or siblings, if she enjoyed personal relationships, why she took photographs and why she didn’t share them with others. Now, in this definitive biography, Ann Marks uses her complete access to Vivian’s personal records and archive of 140,000 photographs to reveal the full story of her extraordinary life.
Based on meticulous investigative research, Vivian Maier Developed reveals the story of a woman who fled from a family with a hidden history of illegitimacy, bigamy, parental rejection, substance abuse, violence, and mental illness to live life on her own terms. Left with a limited ability to disclose feelings and form relationships, she expressed herself through photography, creating a secret portfolio of pictures teeming with emotion, authenticity, and humanity. With limitless resilience she knocked down every obstacle in her way, determined to improve her lot in life and that of others by tirelessly advocating for the rights of workers, women, African Americans, and Native Americans. No one knew that behind the detached veneer was a profoundly intelligent, empathetic, and inspired woman—a woman so creatively gifted that her body of work would become one of the greatest photographic discoveries of the century.
About the Author
Ann Marks spent thirty years as a senior executive in large corporations and served as chief marketing officer of Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal. After retirement, she put her research and analysis skills to use as an amateur genealogist and became inspired to unlock the mysterious life of photographer Vivian Maier. She has dedicated years to studying Maier’s archive of 140,000 images and is an internationally renowned resource on Vivian Maier’s life and work. Her research has been featured in major media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and the Associated Press. Marks lives in Manhattan with her husband and three children.
"[Marks brings] a panoply of talents: extraordinary sleuthing skills, intuition, resourcefulness and persistence; profound empathy; an astute visual aesthetic and highly developed powers of observation; and last but not least, a logical and lucid prose style....Considering hardly a thing was known about Maier when Marks began her project, her achievement in documenting Maier's peregrinations and troubles with such clarity and feeling is remarkable...[Vivian Maier] would likely love — the astounding work Marks herself has done in creating this biography. You will surely close this excellent book feeling inspired." —The Washington Post
"A gorgeous artifact that deepens our understanding of the mystery and then methodically unravels it. Far and away the most complete picture we have of the photographer to date." —The Wall Street Journal
"Vivian Maier Developed is a thorough, fascinating overview of an artist working for art's sake. Marks tells Maier’s life with the intimacy of a scrapbook. Her selection of photographs, artifacts, and documents is judicious and satisfying.” —The New York Times
“An engrossing and beautiful biography highlighted by Maier’s exceptional photographs.” —Newsday
"Best Book of the Month. This compelling book benefits from Marks’ dogged research. She poured through Maier’s combined archive of 140,000 photos…and tackles the central mystery that has remained since the discovery of her work.” —Christian Science Monitor
"A book not to miss."—USA Today
"Riveting. A best holiday book to give."—Vogue
"Must read."—Town and Country
"What Ann Marks does so brilliantly...is to discover the singularly private woman behind the camera and the tragic events that shaped her to become one of the 20th century's premier street photographers. What makes the book such a revelation is how Marks matches biography with photographs, some 400 images."—Graydon Carter's Air Mail magazine
"Unstinting reportage that reads like a mystery." —Chicago Review of Books
Writing the true story of Vivian Maier's life....and suggesting what we think we know about Vivian Maier is wrong." —Chicago Magazine
"Ann Marks's book paints an intimate portrait of the photographer, accompanied by images that build to a crescendo of emotion once you understand their context....a great accomplishment." —Blind, Photography at First Sight
"This definitive account will leave readers in awe."—Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
"Compelling and richly detailed, this book sheds new and important light on an intriguing photographer and her singular life. A well—researched and incisive biography."—Kirkus Starred Review
"Marks opens doors and fits scattered pieces together, illustrating her precise narrative and thoughtful analysis with nearly 400 of Vivian Maier's stunning, witty, and unnerving portraits, self—portraits, and street photographs, many published here for the first time." —Booklist Starred Review
"With the wit and tenacity of a Sherlock, Ann Marks brings the mystery of Vivian Maier's life into vivid focus. By turns illuminating, inspiring, and tragic, her intensely caring and deeply researched biography reveals how Maier developed as a woman and the artist who remains in our minds as an enduring, formidable, and creative force." (Joel Meyerowitz )