Finding Vivian Maier. 2013. USA. Directed by John Maloof, Charlie Siskel. 83 min.
In 2007, while seeking material for an art project, photographer John Maloof bought a small collection of photographs and odds and ends from a local Chicago thrift-auction house. Intrigued by what he found—an idiosyncratic and seemingly obsessive collection of ordinary objects as well as powerful black-and-white street photographs—Maloof’s interest blossomed into a singular search to learn more about the identity of the photographer and her creative process, and he became a collector and champion of her work. The film unfolds like a detective story, as Maier’s mysterious life as a nanny and a loner is revealed through the recollections of her various employers and their children, and as other details of her past come to light. Through the reconstruction of a large portion of Maier’s collection of over 100,000 photographs and interviews with other well-known American street photographers and collectors, the film challenges our notions of the artist and the creative act, and how art is made and marketed. This is Maloof's and Siskel's remarkable directorial debut.