Finding Vivian Maier: Fascinating Creative Journey Even After Death

Some stories I hear just stick with me … Vivian Maier’s is one of them. Have you heard of her? Have you heard of the film about her? It’s really about two creative people — Vivian Maier AND John Maloof (the fascinating young man who stumbled across her creative stash after her death and belatedly helped her get her due as a recognized street photographer).

As a creative person, and as a coach who helps people align with their own creativity and authenticity, this story really got under my skin. For decades, her whole adult life, Vivian Maier took photos. Really good spontaneous photos in Chicago and in New York and elsewhere depending on when she was able to travel.

Turns out she knew she was good. But instead of ‘doing’ anything with them she worked as a nanny as her day job and stashed her 1000s and 1000s of photos in storage lockers (which Maloof eventually found and purchased after she has died).

Like many of us creative types she was odd 😉 And had a funny relationship to her work and talent. And apparently to other people too. But I can’t help but think that her soul HAD to have those photos be seen. HAD to have them discovered and given their due. So it found a way to do that through the form of John Maloof … another doggedly creative individual.

Must one show their work? Must one get it out there if its good? What barriers keep one from doing so? How does the art feel about this?! The soul?! Ahhhhhh, these are the kinds of delicious questions that this story and this film provoke. With no easy answers.

Hope you get to check it out yourself. It’s intriguing! And if you are an artist, I hope you aren’t just stuffing your work into storage lockers. If you are call me and I’ll coach you through your resistance to get it out into the light of day … so your soul doesn’t have to go through creative contortions like Vivian’s did!

Christina Merkley

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