While exceeding in photography, Maier had what some would call shortcomings on the babysitting side. With her twin-lens Rolleiflex, she would walk several miles with the children she babysat, most likely to capture moments on city streets, at times losing her focus on the children (so, not babysitting at all in fact) "As an adult, I would say she was a person who had a lot of baggage, literally and figuratively," recalls one of her watched children, "It was so bizarre. I went into the attic (where she lived with them) maybe three times the whole time she was my nanny, and the stacks of newspapers were taller than me. It was like walking through a valley of newspapers." Known for being a packrat, she is remembered as having been protective of her belongings. Maier frequently referred to herself as a spy, and although the reason lies unknown, she most likely thought of herself this way in conjunction with the world: looking at it closely though never getting too near. Or, she really was a spy, and there's a whole other subplot to this mystery we're not taking seriously enough .
This enigma of a woman who never revealed too much of her life had the world find her through her photographs. Even though most would be furious if their great "body of work" wasn't seen during their lifetimes, it seems as though Maier didn't subscribe to the pics-or-it-didn't-happen mentality. She'd take selfies on the streets incognito and engage herself in what she believed was interesting -- not needed to show the world her pics to prove it. But fate ended up doing the work for her in the most ridiculous, wonderful way possible.
For more of Oona’s sarcasm and attempted wit, visit her website oonaoffthecuff.com . Top Image: IFC
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