Since reading the NYT Magazine article about Maier I'm transfixed. Like many people, I'm riveted & awaiting the remaining 90% of her work to be revealed.
To the nay-sayers: I've seen a lot of utter crap exalted as fine art. Maier's work is deeply affecting. I share the perspective from other reviews that Maier photographed the way that Studs Terkel wrote - capturing the street life of everyday people. And yes, her story, or what little we know of it infuses one's appreciation. But that is often the case with great artisits - - Modigiliani, Basquait & Capa to name a few.
Other nay-sayers discredit Maier's lack of sophistication or training. Bear in mind that many of the greatest photographers had precious little if any training - Weston had 6 months. Clearly she had a sharp eye for composition, the timing of when to shoot and the confidence to know that the single shots she took were indeed what she wanted to capture
Big thanks to Britton for this review.