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Who is Vivian Maier? Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime. Since buying her work by chance at auction, amateur historian John Maloof has crusaded to put this prolific photographer in the history books. 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.


“Finding Vivian Maier” is a documentary about how a nanny became one of the last century’s most prolific street photographers. It’s not that Vivian did something that was unusual for the 50s and 60s. It’s that she provided a look into the life of a female domestic worker during a turbulent time. Somehow, she managed to capture the world around her and the wards left in her care. But, there’s also the sense that she had an obsessive need to catalog every personal experience. In the era of social media and Instagram, Maier would probably be forgotten.

Vivian Maier is presented in conflicting stories by the interviewees, so don’t expect this to be the final word on the artist. It would’ve been great if John Maloof tried to make something more definite. That being said, I appreciate getting the chance to learn more about a photographer that doesn’t get the same attention as an Arbus. Street photography is such an underrated phenomenon that has only been sullied by tech advances of the last ten to fifteen years. We should celebrate the history of the art.

The DVD comes with Maier’s Super 8 footage, audio recordings, photo gallery and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for a documentary. Still, the transfer is a soft standard definition presentation. The Dolby 5.1 track seems ridiculously overpowered for a film like this. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to photography nerds.

RELEASE DATE: 07/29/2014

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