Creative Matters

‘Dozens who thought they knew her’: Finding Vivian Maier?


  • Clare Brant King's College London



It’s not very often that a story comes along to astonish and excite, but the tale of Vivian Maier[M1]  is one such, and of such interest that I would like to alert our life writing community. I describe it through the film version in which I encountered it, though reviewers and others redescribe that tale in condensed ways also of interest as biographical micronarratives. The least you might know is the film’s description by its maker: ‘Finding Vivian Maier is the critically acclaimed documentary about a mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and, discovered decades later, is now among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.’

This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing in August 2014 and published on 16 March 2015.

Author Biography

Clare Brant, King's College London

Clare Brant is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature & Culture at King’s College London, where she co-directs the Centre for Life-Writing Research; photography is one of her interests. Clare Brant is also one of the editors of the European Journal of Life Writing.





Creative Matters