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Yawning gaps in the life story of enigmatic Chicago nanny Vivian Maier, whose gritty street photography became a sensation and the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary only after she died, led to early depictions of her as a camera-wielding Mary Poppins who may not have fully grasped nor cultivated her raw talent.Marks drew on her access to 140,000 mostly unpublished Maier photos as well as personal notes Maier kept and documents uncovered in public archives.He learned of Maier's whereabouts from her obituary, and now owns 90 percent of her work.Even to those who knew her when she was alive, Maier was often an enigma. Marks' findings offer a credible answer to one mystery: Why did Maier only ever develop and print a tiny percentage of her photos?Marks' main insight is how Maier threw herself into photography at age 25 .Examining the negatives, Marks could see Maier got it in one take.
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