The Vivian Maier “Discovery” Is More Complicated Than We Thought

July 22, 2014 3:51 PM

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Finding Vivian Maier, the documentary about the nanny who’s gained incredible posthumous fame for her previously unseen work as a photographer, was released this past weekend in the UK. But in addition to garnering reviews, it’s also bringing a longstanding but little-covered conflict over Maier’s work and archive to light. The film’s release has “fuelled a row between the men whose accidental discovery of her work … led to Maier belatedly coming to the world’s attention and garnering a posthumous reputation on a par with Henri Cartier-Bresson,” the Independent reported.

The documentary was made by John Maloof, the principal holder of Maier’s work and belongings. It follows his journey of discovery, from purchasing a box of her negatives on a whim at a Chicago auction in 2007 to Googling her and finding her obituary in 2009; from beginning a quest to learn who she w...

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