Finding Vivian Maier

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Finding Vivian MaierĀ is a small, low-budget, quirky film, and I highly recommend it to you. The film is about a woman, Vivian Maier, who was a nanny in Chicago, but beyond her daily work of taking care of children, she was an extraordinary photographer. She had been all but forgotten until a young man, purely by chance, bought a large trunk at an auction. Inside the trunk were hundreds and hundreds of rolls of film, as well as thousands of negatives. The photographs weren’t merely good; they were amazing. And so the young man began investigating, discovering that they were taken by a reclusive, complicated and deeply private woman — Vivian Maier.

As I watched the film I was struck by a couple of different thoughts, not the least of which is how complicated people really are, and though we think we may know someone, there is so much we really don’t know. So many people carry within themselves private worlds of brokenness or creativity or ambition. I was also reminded that there are these extraordinarily talented people in the world who never receive the recognition they deserve. They work quietly and without fanfare. Do mundane jobs by day and create wonderful art by night. It’s still baffling to think, for example, that Emily Dickinson only published seven poems in her lifetime.

Take a Breath today. Summer, of course, is the season for blockbuster cinematic sequels, but if you want a weird, wonderful, perplexing film . . . consider watching Finding Vivian Maier. I saw it a few days ago and I’m still thinking about it.



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