Vivian Maier, Chicago nanny turned seminal American photographer, was also a filmmaker

vivian maier chicago nanny turned seminal american photographer also filmmaker finding 8mm film

A scene from one of the 8mm home movies Vivian Maier shot. Her work has been documented in the film, Finding Vivian Maier. (Maloof Collection)

For those who are still unfamiliar with the name Vivian Maier, she has been hailed as one the great American street photographers of the 20th century. However, Maier was largely unknown until her work was discovered in 2007, by a Chicago historian, John Maloof; by the time Maloof had traced the work back to Maier (who worked as a nanny for wealthy families), she has already passed away. Maloof documented her work and the discovery in the film Finding Vivian Maier, which is currently being shown at art houses around the country.

Interestingly, Maier wasn’t just interested in photography. During her excursions around Chicago, she also experimented with 8mm film. Like her photography, Maier shot several home movies of street scenes, and edited them in-camera. Some of her movies can be seen in the documentary. Finding Vivian Maier’s producers say more of these films will be included as extras in the upcoming DVD release, but one of them can be seen below. There isn’t any particular story arc in her film, but it gives us a look into what Chicago was like during her time.

If you haven’t seen the film but are interested in finding more about Maier, you can click here to see if the film is being shown in your area.