Photographer Vivian Maier posthumously emerged as an important and previously unknown American street photographer after the contents of her storage lockers were sold at auction in 2007. The storage lockers contained negatives – many negatives. But the identity of the photographer was not immediately known. Maier was identified as the photographer shortly before she died in 2009, but it was only after her death, as prints of her photographs were published, exhibited and sold, did she receive acclaim.
But now, the question of who has the right to control her legacy is in dispute. In August, Julia Gray wrote:
Today, the majority of Maier’s work — prints, Super-8 films and thousands of negatives — is owned by three men: Jeffrey Goldstein, John Maloof and Ron Slattery. Both Goldstein and Maloof have sold prints in limited editions through galleries.
Slattery only has the original prints and some negatives that he bought at the 2007 auction. Goldstein and Maloof have obtained a great deal more of Maier’s artistic output, as well as cameras and other personal items, from her estate. They both sell limited edition prints through galleries. Goldstein has also published a book of Maier’s photos, and Maloof is working on a documentary about her discovery and legacy, which will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Continue Reading The Rights of Images: Vivian Maier – The Battle for a Photographer’s Legacy