Finding Vivian Maier

A self-portrait by Vivian Maier 

If you're a photographer, love photography, or have no experience with cameras, period, you should watch this. Basically, everyone should watch this.

I only discovered this documentary last night. Thanks Netflix! It's about a nanny with a secret: she's an avid, and exceptionally talented photographer. Despite this, she never did anything with her photos. It was only after her death that someone bought her negatives at an auction, not thinking much of it, but deciding to see if there was anything useful. From there it spiraled, and he had to find out more about this mysterious woman with an incredible gift. Why wasn't she famous? Why weren't her photos published? Who the hell was she, anyway? Was she French, or did she just love French accents? Ah, the mystery!

I was impressed by how far the filmmaker, John Maloof, went to discover what Maier was like, and I can see why he did: she was fascinating. But like most people, especially artists, she wasn't the nicest person, and as more than one person noted, she had a dark side.

Maloof managed to find quite a few of Maier's former employers, including the now grown children she was a nanny for, some of whom had  interesting, even disturbing stories to tell. They paint a much broader picture than the one we started with.

After years of trying to get her name recognized and her photos seen, Maloof now has Maier's photographs being shown all over the world. I'm going to Google this and see where exactly they are, and if they're on permanent display. Who knows, maybe I'll get a chance to see them in person someday!

My grade: B+