Can you imagine why it takes so long, sometimes, to bring your own creativity out to the bright daylight, for others to see? Might be because your creativity has grown overwhelmingly, while your knowledge of publishing techniques still equals zero. Vivian Maier’s story may be unique, but her output dilemma isn’t, at all. A nanny piling up stacks of journals for background reference, documenting the urban everyday life around her in clandestine photos. A person who remained a stranger to everyone who knew her.
Understanding the kind of solitude that characterized Vivian Maier’s lifetime, one thing in John Maloof’s documentary portrait moved me to tears. On the one hand, consider this sheer helplessness of an unacknowledged talent. On the other, realize how a belated helping hand enabled publicity and triggered a success that Vivian Maier herself, who passed away in 2009, couldn’t experience anymore.
I was struck by this unexpected help of a total stranger, posthumously dedicating time and energy to sort Vivian Maier’s mess out and to dig her photographic diamonds out to the bright daylight. He explains about the division of work between photographers and photo developers, and while he mentions working his way through stacks of boxes with undeveloped film material, the load of such an unseen, unfinished legacy takes form.