Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary directed by John Maloof, the man who uncovered her magnificent secret and Charlie Siskel, producer of Bowling for Columbine, which walks us through the largest discovery in the history of street photography.

Vivian Maier

Born in New York City, not much is known about Vivian Maier’s personal life. During her lifetime, Vivian was known to most as simply the private nanny who kept to herself. In the trailer for Finding Vivian Maier, some of her former pupils discuss how interesting, yet closed off she seemed.

Locking herself away when she was not minding the children is just one example. Most days, she would take the children on walks, but none of them realized what she was capturing. They toured the sides of town most of the children never would have been able to view if it wasn’t for Vivian Maier. They came across slums, dark alleys, and drug rehab centers.

The Discovery

John Maloof conveniently lived across the street from an auction house in Chicago, a city Maier spent a great amount of her life in. In 2007, he attended an auction where he purchased a trunk full of thousands of negatives, which turned out to be Maier’s lifetime of photographs.

Unfortunately, Maloof put the trunk in the closet for a few months before really scanning the gem he found. When he finally learned of Vivian Maier, he was a week or so shy of being able to contact her in real life. Her obituary was posted just two days before he Googled her.

After realized he had uncovered a woman who was undoubtedly one of the best photographers of her time, Lamoof contacted the auction house. He tracked down most of the boxes sold at the auction and collected approximately 90% of Maier’s work. After years of finishing and printing Maier’s collection, her photographs were put on exhibit in countries around the world. The documentary’s web design also allows you to request a reprint of any piece you may wish to purchase.

The Film

While the work in itself was magnificent, the woman behind the camera was equally extraordinary. In fact, the documentary Finding Vivian Maier is not about the art, but the woman behind the art. Maloof and Siskel interviewed families who had hired her, children she had cared for, store owners who had processed her film and anyone else they could find who interacted with Maier.

They attempted to discover what drove this woman to create such beautiful art and then hide it from the world. One person who was interviewed was actually hurt because Maier had kept such a huge secret from someone considered one of her close friends. This is truly a captivating story told in an enchanting manner. The movie premiered in Toronto in September 2013 and will be released in the United States in March 2014.

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The Author

Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and movie-geek. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son, writing about movies and beyond. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington or check out his blog,