An unknown street photographer pops onto the scene posthumously, changing the landscape of the art form, Finding Vivian Maier is that story.
Finding Vivan Maier is a documentary about the reclusive and mysterious woman who devoted her life to taking photography, and yet, never let any of it be seen.
Written and directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, Finding Vivan Maier tells of John Maloof’s journey to discover this odd woman’s life and to ensure her legacy is remembered. The documentary is sure to be a hit amongst avid photographers and lovers of photography as an art form. In that regard it is quite compelling, especially due to enigmatic nature of its subject, Vivian Maier. However, due to its limited scope it does not have an overreaching ability to captivate mass audiences that would otherwise show little interest in the material.
Finding Vivian Maier is significantly aided in its successfulness by the bizarre personality of this prolific but, until now, unrecognized artist. As the documentary progresses, we follow along with John Maloof as he utilizes various means to unearth this woman’s background and nature, a feat made increasingly difficult by her reclusive and private character. Of course, an artist being secretive is not unusual, but being the first to explore it still yields a fascinating and intriguing documentary. We do so through the now grown children she nannied for and a very limited circle of friends. Omitted from the documentary are interviews with those members of the art world that still fail to acknowledge Vivian Maier as a distinguishable photographer, and it certainly is a missed opportunity.
As certain individuals within the documentary state, perhaps the mystery of her is more interesting than the work itself. But this obscured and even troubled woman left an unusual trail of breadcrumbs in the forms of unpublished photo negatives as evidence for us, and the producers of the film Finding Vivian Maier, to construct an understanding of this riveting individual. Ultimately, it is nice that the documentary can be another vehicle to get her work out there to garner further appreciation and recognition from the industry.