finding vivian maier, and making money from her work


When I first heard about Vivian Maier I was super excited. She’s a woman who photographed obsessively all of her adult life, without any recognition, and without ever developing most of her film. After her death her considerable talent was discovered. Her work is amazing in many different ways. It’s documentary, striking, and produced by a very particular mind. Here is a New York Times story and slide show to give you an idea if you haven’t seen her work before.

There are (at least) two movies about Vivian Maier’s life. One was produced by John Maloof, the man who owns the bulk of her negatives. John Maloof has worked hard at promoting Vivian Maier and her work, and he was behind the news stories that surfaced about three years ago. John Maloof’s movie is in theaters right now, and as excited as I’ve been about it, I’ve decided not to see it. It feels like a commercial venture, and it strikes me as odd that a woman who protected her privacy all of her life, shall be making money for someone else. This Boston Globe review of the film is generally positive, but interesting.

The second movie, The Vivian Maier Mystery (available on Amazon and Google Play, and also, at least for the time being, here) was produced by BCC Scotland. This film tells a slightly different story. It puts John Maloof and his actions into perspective, and it asks interesting questions about ownership, fame, and money.

(The image above comes from a story in The New Yorker.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *