You probably have already heard the story of street photographer Vivian Maier and her discovery by former real estate agent John Maloof from Chigago. This began in late 2007, and a good online source is the article “The Life and Work of Street Photographer Vivian Maier” by Nora O’Donnell.
Little known, though, is the fact that, as a four-year old child, Vivian Maier and her mother lived with French photographer Jeanne J. Bertrand for some time. On the web site of writer Jim Leonhirth I found a PDF of an article from the Boston Globe, dated August 23, 1902. This fascinating article, entitled “FROM FACTORY TO HIGH PLACE AS ARTIST. Jeanne J. Bertrand, a Girl Of 21, Has Become One of the Eminent Photographers of Connecticut.” describes the story of a 21-year old French girl, who gave up a job at a needle factory in Torrington, Conn., to study the art of photography— in the late 19th century (this happened most likely around 1898) quite an adventure.
Besides the fascinating story, I wonder inhowfar Jeanne J. Bertrand may have—if only unconsciously—had an influence on Vivian Maier respectively her decision to take up photography. Since Jim Leonhirth is preparing a book on the life of Jeanne J. Bertrand, this may shed some further light on Vivian Maier as well.