Nowadays it’s rather unusual to think about ‘developing a camera film’. Watching John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s documentary Finding Vivian Mayer that action becomes incredibly contemporary and essential.
Thousands of photo negatives have been brought back to life a brilliant unknown talent, a mysterious nanny, an incredible photographer, people, cities, children, homeless.
What John Maloof discovered was an undeveloped photo negatives box, picked up at an auction for a modest payment. Maloof didn’t know that those photo negatives hid some stunning images taken on the streets of New York and Chicago from the 1950s to the present. All those photographies were never shown to anyone in the photographer’s lifetime until Maloof finally developed, catalogued and published them. He then decided to find out more about the unknown artist who has been compared with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Diane Arbus. Maloof and Siskel decided to transform in a film the research they have conducted on Vivian Maier’s photo negatives, trying to discover her life and her secrets.