This is a story of a full-time nanny/part-time street photographer in Chicago named Vivian Maier. Vivian sadly passed away in April of 2009, with her photographic work totally unknown to the world. It took a local real estate agent named John Maloof to uncover her amazing talent after purchasing her negatives at an auction. He hadn’t heard of Vivian, and only bought the negatives in a search for some content for a book he was writing. It was when he was scanning the negatives that he realized what he had.
John didn’t know what to do with this amazing body of work, so he started by putting together a blog to showcase some of the photos. He then reached out to the flickr community for ideas. It was there that someone recommended John look for funding on Kickstarter.com, which is how I learned about it.
John is looking for $20,000 to help fund the pre-production of a documentary movie he’d like to put together about Vivian and her work. The fundraising started two weeks ago, and not surprisingly once you realize the talent Vivian had, they have already exceeded their $20,000 target, with over two months left in the fundraising process!
I was extremely fortunate to be the last backer to receive a film spool for my $10 donation, but I think I will also donate another $25 to be able to download a copy of the movie once it is complete.
I’m quite moved by this story and find it very inspiring, both as an amateur photographer and frankly, as a human being. There is so much negativity in the world that a story like this just lifts your spirits — at least that’s the effect it had on me.