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  1. #21
    omaha's Avatar
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    Maloof is an interesting guy. In a way, I find it more interesting to get inside of his head than Maier's.

    From the outside looking in, he seems sort of conflicted. His Flickr page is filled with street photos that he started posting after he found the Maier archive. I find it fascinating that he chose to emulate her.

    He's young, so some latitude is called for. He seems to be going through a "find yourself" period. Does he want to be a photographer? Does he want to be a documentarian? Does he want to be a curator? Does he want to be a researcher? Does he want to be an entrepreneur? Does he want to be a real estate guy? I'm not sure he knows, and that gets to the central weakness (in my view) of the film: It never seemed to make up its mind if it was promoting Maier or Maloof. Put another way, the film can be viewed as using Maier as a vehicle to promote Maloof.

    If there's something "ishy" in Maloof, I found it there. But as I said, he's quite young, and as such I give him a lot of slack in such things.
    I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here) when I want to.

  2. #22

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    Who's to say she was looking for recognition ? We're ascribing something for which we have no clue, afaik. She may have photographed because she was compelled to, maybe obsessively so, but that doesn't mean she wanted the world to see her work and that she wanted to profit from it, I don't know. ymmv

    It would be great if there was a paper trail of correspondence between Vivian and editors/curators/other photographers.

  3. #23

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    Well, she did communicate with a lab with a view to publishing her work at one time, as documented in the movie.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  4. #24

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    hmmm

  5. #25
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    I saw this film in a theatre in downtown Pittsburgh last Friday. I was pleasantly surprised, both by the film and the work of "Miss Meyers".

    The film is in fact titled "FINDING Vivian Maier", so it is appropriate for it to be as much about finding the work as it is about Vivian herself. Where I felt the film really shined was the way in which it asked more questions than it answered. We can't TRULY know her motivations, intentions or how she would feel about what's happening with her work now. I believe the film left that same ambiguity when it came to the people that were interviewed... I question some of their stories... some of their own motivations and the film presented things in such a way as to question them itself.

    As to Maloof? Interesting fellow, indeed. I'm glad he found her work and helped to bring it to us now... and why shouldn't he profit from the time and work he's put into this significant effort? I look forward to purchasing the DVD and watching it again. I also look forward to seeing more images made by Vivian, she made some fine pictures.
    Last edited by Shawn Dougherty; 05-09-2014 at 02:49 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by omaha View Post
    Went to see Finding Vivian Maier last night at Film Streams. Its an ok movie built around two fairly interesting stories. The only problem is the movie had a hard time deciding which one of them to tell.

    The first story is that of Vivian Maier, the eccentric nanny of the Chicago Northside who spent her days walking the city with the children in her care, taking thousands and thousands of often amazing photographs but then hiding them away.

    The second story is that of John Maloof, the Chicago area resident alternately described as a “historian and collector” or a “real estate agent” (he may have even published a book on “making big money prospecting for-sale-by-owner properties”, but I’m not sure that’s the same guy) who stumbled into Maier’s work at a storage auction.

    At best, Maloof (who co-wrote and co-prodced the film) is a guy who was genuinely inspired and intrigued by Maier and has made a mission out of promoting her work. At worst, Maloof is an opportunist who happened to stumble into a large collection of great photographs and is exploiting it for personal gain. Or maybe Maloof is a guy who was working in the hyper-competitive and often soulless field of real estate, and saw his discovery of Maier’s work as his chance to get out and transform himself and his life into something with more meaning.

    The rest is at my blog...
    I had heard he was a picker that bought the storage locker contents and started to promote them. Nothing wrong with that. But $ is the foundation of all he does.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by omaha View Post
    The film certainly paints a picture of a rather eccentric personality for Maier. Whether she qualifies as "bat s*** crazy" is a matter of interpretation. Personally, I wouldn't go nearly that far. In any case, history is filled with stories of artists with "tail end of the bell curve" personalities. In that sense, she was as one might have expected.

    I do find it interesting how her obsession with photography feathered neatly with her hoarding disorder.
    I think she was crazy to freeze time. The same way all us button pushers are.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Simpson View Post
    FWIW: I like Maier's work. I wish she had been alive to profit from it. She is not, and there are no heirs.

    I would rather Mr. Maloof et al make some money in the process of making her body of work available to the public, than it remain hidden. Maloof has a fairly large job ahead of him: developing hundreds of rolls, cataloging them and scanning the negatives. Given that the museums and galleries he contacted, declined to accept the task, at least we should be thankful he decided to take the risk.

    Sure, I think we all wish that Vivian Maier had been able to recognize the value (both artistic and financial) of her work. But, frankly, given her personality, that was unlikely. Sad, but true. So, at least we get to see it, and Mr. Maloof may end up getting rich...or not. It's the way of the world, and I don't condemn him for it.

    Museums are a pain to deal with. They are more money hungry than Maloof.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    He has no credibility in the art world, and never will. Neither does that other carpetbagger profiting on Maier's work. Their only motivation is money. Not unlike what happened to Darger.

    Well, galleries a worse than Maloof. They are ONLY interested in $$.

    Maloof has done lots of work. So he needs / deserves some profit.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvmycam View Post
    I had heard he was a picker that bought the storage locker contents and started to promote them. Nothing wrong with that. But $ is the foundation of all he does.
    I would not characterize him as a picker. He was planning to write a book on the history of a Chicago neighborhood, found this large lot of photographs at a sale and bought them, thinking they would be useful to illustrate the book. He was buying them to use them, not to re-sell.
    A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.

    Oscar Levant

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