Documentary Finding Vivian Maier follows the recent discovery of photographer Vivian Maier—described as “part Mary Poppins, part Weegee”—and her exceptional body of work. The film has received quite a bit of attention since its March release; what people seem to find in Finding Vivian Maier is an affinity for the artist, or more accurately the photographs she took (which, as it happens, were often of herself). The public would never know Maier personally because her fame came after her death. The film asks: would she have it any other way?
The Brooks found a kinship in the film as well: in production. Memphis-born Chris McKinley is an editor and associate producer of Finding Vivian Maier, and he was kind enough to oblige us with an interview. New Brooks blogger Natalie Higdon provides the Q & A below. If you enjoy the interview, please welcome her by sharing this post with friends.
Photo courtesy of John Maloof
Chris McKinley, Editor and Associate Producer of the documentary Finding Vivian Maier, chats with us about his involvement with the film, why choosing a favorite Vivian Maier photograph is impossible, and what screening this film at the Brooks means to him.
Q: How did you “find” Vivian Maier?
I joined the project after it was underway. I was editing a TV show for one of the documentary’s directors, Charlie Siskel. He told me about Vivian Maier, John Maloof’s discovery of her work, and the film, and I was really intrigued. Then he showed me her photos and I was blown away. It wasn’t a tough call to be involved if they wanted me. Basically, I was pretty lucky.
Q: What is it about Vivian’s work that you think resonates with so many people today?
It’s tough to even say why I connect with it, let alone why others do. I just know that when I saw the photos for the first time I said, “WHOA.” For me her stuff feels really immediate and fresh even after being locked away for decades.
To paraphrase what photographer Joel Meyerowitz says more eloquently in the movie: there’s something about Vivian’s work that seems primary. It doesn’t feel imitative. She’s doing her own thing her own way and you feel there’s a definite point of view there. Continue reading