Documenting the documentarian. This film appeals to me on so many levels: as a photographer and serial appreciator of documentary films, as an aspiring archivist and as a not so casual observer of human behavior.
Vivian Maier was a prolific and accomplished street photographer, but no one knew it until after she passed away. For decades, she worked as a nanny and somehow captured over 100,000 images that were not seen by the general public until 2007 when her negatives were purchased at a thrift auction in Chicago by photographer and filmmaker John Maloof.
After an initial Google search turned up barely any information about Ms. Maier, Mr. Maloof set out to discover who this mysterious woman was. Finding Vivian Maier is a fascinating story about an eccentric and talented woman who spent her life doing what she loved, but without revealing herself to anyone. Her story, told through her photographs, personal belongings and interviews with the people who thought they knew her, is simultaneously wondrous and tragic.
John Maloof continues to oversee the reconstruction and preservation of the Maier archive. For more information about the film or Vivian Maier’s work, I encourage you to visit these two websites: