Vivian Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) was a nanny, she never married, and had no children. In her leisure time, however, Maier had begun to venture into the art of photography. Consistently taking photos over the course of five decades, she would ultimately leave over 100,000 negatives, most of them shot in Chicago and New York City. Vivian would further indulge in her passionate devotion to documenting the world around her through homemade films, recordings and collections, assembling one of the most fascinating windows into American life in the second half of the twentieth century.
She died in 2009, and left no heirs. She did, however, leave a legacy. A trove of her belongings was moved to a storage facility. Other boxes of stuff wound up at auction, even before her death, and it is here that “Finding Vivian Maier,” a documentary by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, picks up the thread. In 2007, Maloof bid, more or less at random, for a box of negatives, which he looked at, neglected for a while, returned to, scanned, and put on Flickr. He knew the photographer’s name, but that was all; a Google search had drawn a blank. Then, in 2009, he found her obituary in the Chicago Tribune, and learned that she had died a few days before. From there, his quest began, to spectacular effect. Google “Vivian Maier” today, and you will get more than a million results.
Selma v Schönburg