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At the end of 2009, the director of the Chicago Cultural Center organized a personal photography exhibition, and praised the exhibited works as "a history book of photography". The photos were written by a domestic helper who has died.
Just as every martial arts novel hides one or two unsophisticated masters, Vivienne is the top master of lurking domestic affairs.
Vivienne was born in New York in 1926. She lived in France with her mother when she was young, and later moved to Chicago to become an ordinary nanny. This is her 40 years. Of course, she is not like a normal nanny. Everyday life is just to watch children, buy food and cook. What she loves to do is walk around. From 1959 to 1960, Vivienne made a long-distance trip to the southwestern United States, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Italy ... and China.
This nanny who loves walking has a literary heart, and loneliness is the key to art.
Vivian grew up in France from a young age and has a strong French accent. She has no loved ones or friends in Chicago, photographing the streets of the city as she walks around. Although she speaks frankly, she feels distanced. She loves European movies and disdains American movies. In selfies, Vivienne never twitches towards the camera, but always photographs herself like a bystander.
On rest days, Vivienne often wears men's jackets, men's leather shoes, a big hat, and takes her "Roll" double-reflex camera to roam the streets to capture moments of life around her at any time. People who have hired her said that she always took pictures quietly, never shared her photos with others, and never printed her photos. In this way, day after day, Vivian photographed everything she was interested in, and her number of negative films reached more than 100,000.
Decades later, on April 21, 2009, Vivienne died in a nursing home, and no relatives were around when he died. The three children who had been taken care of by her had grown up, and they helped her publish obituaries in the newspaper. It is also this obituary that made Vivian's Jie known to the world.
After Vivian's death, her unprocessed negatives flowed to a flea market in Chicago, and were eventually purchased by a young man named John. Driven by curiosity, John developed some of the negatives. He was surprised to find that these photos were unusual-the photos were the most authentic restoration of the streets of Chicago from the 1950s to the 1970s, and they recorded in great detail the development of Chicago and even the United States at the time. Sincere beauty. These seemingly casual street images have a rustic but moving power that John has never experienced in other street photography. But when he tried to search the Internet for the name that appeared on the photo paper bag, he found only one obituary, and therefore knew the true identity of the owner of the photos.
Shocked, John created a blog for Vivienne at the end of 2009 and posted more photos. All kinds of rave reviews came. The New York Times praised her image as "capturing the fragrance of the city and giving the city a jazzy contradictory moment." It was also stated in a report that "it is clear that an outstanding American street photographer was recently discovered" and that Vivienne was "a master photographer with Harry Callaghan." You see, there is something special about anyone living in this world. Who knows if the housekeeping staff in your family is the next Vivian?