Finding Vivian Maier

In 2009 an 83-year-old, destitute former nanny named Vivian Maier died in Chicago without a will and with no known heirs. Vivian Maier’s story might have ended there, but it turns out she was no ordinary nanny. In battered suitcases and jam-packed storage lockers, she left behind more than 100,000 photographic prints and negatives that she took during her long and outwardly unremarkable life. Through an almost unbelievable sequence of fortuitous events, her photographs miraculously escaped a Chicago landfill and eventually became recognized as important works of art, leading Maier herself to achieve posthumous acclaim “as one of the 20th century’s great photographers.” The whole fascinating story is told in the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, which is currently available on Netflix and Amazon.  The film unfolds as a detective story, as we learn more and more about Maier, first from her photographs and earthly possessions, and then from the…

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