Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vivien Maier : The Elusive Nanny/Photographer


A new documentary on the late Vivian Maier, (1926-2009) is about an eccentric nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers & discovered decades later. She is now known as one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers.

Vivian never should have been a nanny, but during the time she was living, a single woman needed to make a living. Her photographs were urgent, raw, sad, gruesome, engaging, humorous & humorless. Above all they was REAL.

Vivian was tall, wounded, militant & explosive. Not the ideal nanny, as her charges would reveal towards the end of this documentary. In fact she was a woman wound up like a top, ( it was suspected she suffered sexual trauma as a child.) Perhaps this was why her photography felt like more of an obsession then a hobby & why she horded unprocessed film in canisters like the stacks of unread newspapers that warped the floor in her bedroom.

Did she mean for her storage unit to be invaded & bought by the man who made her famous? Probably not. The beauty of her work is still a sight to behold & the emotional content jarring.

"Vivian Maier, proud native of France and Chicago resident for the last 50 years died peacefully on Monday. Second mother to John, Lane and Matthew. A free and kindred spirit who magically touched the lives of all who knew her. Always ready to give her advice, opinion or a helping hand." The Chicago Tribune.

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