In 2007, 26-year-old real estate agent John Maloof purchased a box filled with 30,000 negatives from an estate sale for $400. After being stunned by the quality of the street photographs, Maloof began digging and discovered that they were created by a nanny and street photographer named Vivian Maier. He then decided to purchase the other boxes of negatives, bringing his collection of Maier photos up to about 100,000 images. Now some are saying he might have discovered one of the greatest (and previously unknown) street photographers of the 20th century. You can view some of Maier’s photographs here.
Next time you’re at an estate sale, you might want to take a closer look at any boxes of negatives you come across.