Trailer for the Upcoming Documentary on Street Photographer Vivian Maier

This 2 minute 39 second video is the official trailer for the upcoming documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier.” It tells the story of one of the greatest photography finds in recent history, and of the brilliant work of a photographer no one had heard of just a decade ago.

In case you’ve been out of the loop on this story, here’s a brief overview. In 2007, Chicago historian John Maloof purchased a box of 30,000 prints and negatives that was sold by a storage locker, and then another lot from a fellow buyer at the same auction.

Some of Maier's work, purchased by John Maloof in the mid 2000s.

Some of Maier’s work, purchased by John Maloof in the mid-2000s.

It was the work of previously unknown amateur street photographer Vivian Dorothea Maier, who worked for forty years as a nanny in Chicago. She passed away in 2009, but had compiled a body of work that weighed in at roughly 100,000 images.

After the images started being shown to the public, people discovered that the work was of the same caliber as many of the biggest names in photography. Due to the critical acclaim, the work was very quickly picked up by media outlets and also exhibited in countries around the world. In 2011, Maloof published a book on Maier’s work, titled, “Vivian Maier: Street Photographer.”


As excitement over Maier’s photography grows, Maloof is finding himself with an increasingly valuable mountain of images on his hands. He currently owns 100,000-150,000 negatives, 3,000+ vintage prints, hundreds of rolls of film, audio interviews Maier gave, original Maier cameras, and various documents.

In all, he personally owns roughly 90% of the Maier’s lifetime work. Imagine how much the collection may one day be worth if Maier’s name becomes remembered as one of the greats of American street photography.

You can view many of Maier’s photos over on the official website that was created for her after the discovery of her images.

(via POTB)

  • Giovanni Arroyo

    I think Maier is already well on her way to being know as one of the greats. Seeing complete rolls of 120 film that she shot, just brings that point home. Ms. Maier was a brillant photographer.

  • lidocaineus

    Cannot wait for this. The book was amazing, and the exhibition last year was mind blowing.

  • Christian DeBaun

    Good lord. I cannot wait to see this.

  • Martin Ly

    can’t wait!!

  • Ariel Caudis

    real photography, no nowaday’s ps’ bs

  • Mansgame

    I am an outspoken critic of street photography (different than shooting cityscapes) today because it’s turned into paparazzi style invasion of people’s privacy in an era when we already have cameras everywhere. When I diminish the value of street photography as art today however, I am always reminded of the great Vivian Maier as if today’s work can even come close to her work.

    I admire her work because during her era, very few people had access to cameras and we have very few pictures of day to day life back then. It’s not like today when we see pictures of what our friends had for lunch on their instagram. There is no mystery. People also weren’t worried that their pictures were going to end up on reddit and be photoshopped by bored teenagers and made fun of so it wasn’t really invading their privacy (tree falling in the forest) since by the time we saw her pictures, everybody has been long gone.

  • nanineklemperer46mz

    my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $75 every hour on the laptop. She has
    been without a job for 5 months but last month her payment was $13376
    just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here­ ­ ­A­s­k­2­5­.­­c­o­m­

  • Jonathan Ramsdell

    Why is the above b/w shot backwards? Look at the camera’s nameplate.

  • Jason Zeis

    Mirror selfie :) But really, it looks like a self portrait through a reflection of a window or something.

  • Stan B.

    Ummm… because it’s a reflection in a mirror?

  • samuel

    I think she took the photo

  • Paul Donohoe

    so obviously a self portrait don’t you think?

  • David Liang

    What kind of logic is that? Because camera’s are prevalent today that makes todays street photographers somehow less capable or artistic? That because there was a lack of camera’s in other era’s that somehow makes those images worth while?
    You’re completely devaluing and generalizing modern street photographers.

  • Clear

    A shabbes goy lady which took photos in her spare time. Her jewish employers didn’t even notice she had a private life.

  • Hynee

    TBH she’s the same as street photographers today, she used her wiles to get close to her subject and make the capture.
    Obviously she did some street portraits too, but her candids are the same as everyone else’s with respect to privacy.

  • Bj√∂rn Luminaire

    Vivian was clearly more than a street photographer, she was documenting herself in space & in her time. Thankfully it was John’s fate to cross paths with Vivian’s spirit, now the entire planet has been enriched with both of these people’s love & gift of seeing.

  • lidocaineus

    It makes even less sense when you think about his or her comment for more than 10 seconds – is he saying that if only a few people had cameras, they’d automatically be as interesting as Vivian Maier’s shots? Or that an excellent shot taken today is for some reason less valued than in the past? Or that somehow more people taking photos somehow infringes on privacy in places where you’ve never been entitled to any?

    Don’t even try and put logic on Mansgame’s comments, because there isn’t any, any they come from a place of ignorant and skewed ideals (and I don’t use the term ignorant lightly). As if having Instagram around suddenly devalues a great street shot. Ridiculous.

  • BenOverschie

    Odd to hear somebody of no reputation say that the compositions by Vivian Maier are often just a bit off. I wonder how they could be even more on.

  • BenOverschie

    Many had cameras then although not of the Rolleiflex stature but few took them along all that much. Maier used her talent to the max, spent hours and hours along with ten thousands of dollars.
    The tragedy is that so got very little appreciation in life.

  • Peter Caine

    I am a professional photographer but amateur in the spirit. Maier was born to be a documentary photographer like Cartier Bresson was. She can freeze the moment like not even Cartier Bresson could and all that with a candid touch. I documentary photographer is a photographer on constant alert searching and observing but the spontaneity of the click make the difference. I know because I also started to take documentary pictures as a teenager and I was good at it but like Maier I also kept it to myself … The secret of her spontaneity was also thye use of a reflex twin lens camera, by looking down into the viewfinder you never confront the subject they unconsciously look at the lens and there is no eye to eye contact with the photographer. Also her personal candid look of dressing mad he one of us anywhere she appeared in the world of the time, that’s was her main asset. Today’s photographer look like pros and look also confronting and many have an arrogant attitude when taking pictures besides that the Paparazzi has given them a very bad reputation besides Facebook disclosing images overnight! .. Vivian Maier contact sheets are typical of a poor photographer not too many pictures and all have to be selected and right, I was surprised by the numerous good pictures ins single roll of film .. I was the same as a younger teenager photographer with not much money to waste on film, contacts, prints … today I regret the many black and white prints I gave away that have an invaluable value in today’s digital only world, more technically complex; with analogue photography there was 90% of creativity for 10% of technical work .. in digital is the reverse besides fisishing with a pain in the neck looking at your expensive 27″ monitor for hours .. much less physical activity! Peter Caine – Sydney

  • Peter Caine

    After reading a few of you guys comments you have no idea what photography is in real terms. You belong to the digital smart phone times that makes you smart asses of the digital world. Instead of learning what was to be a photographer in the past you are talking what genius are you in the world of digital Photoshopping and motorized cameras. Today’s I can create a street photograph looking like a painting by just changing the settings on my camera! … I see many bad digital photographs that I would not dare put my name on them but they put theirs. My age and experience allows me to distinguish in between a mediocre expensive picture and a great one not so expensive .. a famous photographer put his/her name on a print and snobbish people not having anything else to talk about pay a fortune for it! I never buy prints from any photographer but I would love to have many from Vivian Maier on my walls because she brings candid spontaneity and you feel that moment like if it was yourself taking the image! …. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Vivian but I guess she lived in the solitude of her inquisitive mind all her life. I only wonder why did she not start taking pictures in Paris?