Finding John Maloof: Behind the Director's Street Photography

by David J. Carol

May 29, 2014

Photo © John Maloof 2014


John Maloof has gained a great deal of notoriety since discovering street photographer Vivian Maier’s negatives at an auction in 2007. He has produced two monographs of her work and made his directorial debut with a documentary titled Finding Vivian Maier (which opened in 75 theaters this past March). What people may not know about Maloof, however, is his personal love of street photography.

“I got into photography after being inspired by Vivian Maier’s negatives,” Maloof explains. “From there I became obsessed with the art form. Unlike painting, which I dabbled in prior to this, the idea that I can make an image with every shutter click...something about that is so satisfying to me.”

Maloof adds that while there is some overlap with photography and cinematography—“in both you are composing, judging light, what to put in the frame, etc.”—the main difference is that street photography is “more intuitive and reflexive than cinematography because the anticipation of a scene about to unfold and hitting the shutter at the right moment is a lot more difficult than just rolling tape on a scene.”

See this story in the digital edition.

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