Ever have the fantasy of finding some hidden treasure amongst the cobwebs, mismatched dishes and broken furniture of your grandma's attic? Some little overlooked bit of history that you could take with you to the antique roadshow and become an instant millionaire?! Believe me I am an avid daydreamer and I have had such grandiose fantasies. Alas, neither or my grandmothers have attics. *Sigh* All they have are spare closets full of childhood memories, trinkets from decades, board games and old coats that smell like my grandfather. Although these things have meaning and interest for our family history, I doubt the quilting cloth and sand paintings from the seventies would amount to any kind of great fortune....but wait there is still a chance. If you are like me, and have no source of familial treasure or attics or basements of antiques to pour through - you still can find something! Come to the Antique Mall! And although you may think everything has been found - it hasn't.
Now lets talk about the hidden fortune that was found by one unsuspecting antique lover. He was at an antiques auction and bought a box of negatives on a whim. There were several boxes in the lot and he got it out of curiosity. He began to look through the negatives and found they were expressive, poignant and full of moving portraits and perfect moments. He had discovered Vivian Maier. Who praytell is that you might ask? Well, she was best street portrait photographers of her time, and no one even knew who she was. None of her work was ever shown, or even printed in her lifetime. And she never got the recognition for the artist that she was...until now.
The entire story of this incredible find is now a documentary which I highly recommend. The trailer is here on youtube.
Now her beautiful work is shown in exhibitions in London, Chicago, New York, Spain and literally all over the world. And because she had no living relatives or heirs - all the profits and income from her beautiful work goes to the one who found it. A treasure in a forgotten box at an antique sale. Take a look at a sample of her gorgeous portfolio - you can even see her self portrait if you are looking closely.
I can't guarantee riches, but its a possibility there is an overlooked 1920's tiffany lamp or box of negatives with your name on it! Remember, half of the adventure is in the hunt. Moral of the story, remember that before the Satorialist and Bill Cunningham ever took a photo, Vivian Maier was there. And the one who rescued her work from obscurity was someone just looking through some old antiques. So get yourself to Capital City and happy treasure hunting!