EYES IN Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk is live at Berlinale and shares her review, "The Documentary Vivian Maier by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel has done an exquisite job in showing a hidden photography talent's heart, soul and brilliant work to the world by bringing her own 'biography,' strongly intertwined with her life, to the screen.
"This film is a superb documentary that is at the same time made with (however odd it sounds) a healthy amount of humor about a woman who, if she had been known at that time, was one of the 20th century's photographic stars. Vivian Maier is a masterpiece creator who deserves the recognition from the world and especially by the big museums, so that her talent and what she documented will not remain overlooked."
'Finding Vivian Maier' is the critically acclaimed documentary about a mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and, discovered decades later, is now among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.
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John Maloof loves forced sales where he can acquire items from an individual’s private estate. One day he makes the astonishing discovery of a box of undeveloped films and negatives that were found in an attic. The material reveals moving moments of ordinary life in America which are reminiscent of the street photography of major artists such as Helen Levitt or Robert Frank. There are a particularly large number of photographs of children, absorbed in play, or staring confidently into the lens. But who was behind the camera? And why were the photographs of Vivian Maier, who died alone at the age of 83, never discovered?
John Maloof embarks on his research. He is hunting for clues about the life of this woman who for over forty years traveled the world with her camera, dressed boldly in men’s checked shirts, and worked as a nanny in Chicago’s wealthy suburbs. When he visits these families they describe Maier as a reserved and introverted woman who nonetheless observed her environment with great attention. His ensuing portrait is a fascinating depiction of an artist with an open gaze to which even strangers consented, allowing her to plumb their soul with her lens.
John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof.
Currently, Vivian Maier’s body of work is being archived and cataloged for the enjoyment of others and for future generations. John Maloof is at the core of this project after reconstructing most of the archive, having been previously dispersed to the various buyers attending that auction. Now, with roughly 90% of her archive reconstructed, Vivian’s work is part of a renaissance in interest in the art of Street Photography.
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