Finding Vivian Maier

  At the end of last year, I finally delivered some of the film that had been backlogged for several years to the imaging company and printed it out.
  One of the rolls of images is completely unimpressive. There are photos of a family’s life, and the protagonist is a little girl: there are photos of babies held by mothers, photos of dancing in princess dresses, and photos of family dinners with a large table of young and old. Fortunately, the girl’s face didn’t change much. It turned out to be one of my students, Jia Jie.
  As a chemistry teacher, I have spared no effort in magic tricks to inspire students’ enthusiasm for the subject, and I have never been bored for decades. Twenty years ago, I taught an elective course “Explicit and Concealment” – chemical potions can hide handwriting and images, and can also expose them; it is reflected in the daily version, such as rice soup turns blue when iodine, purple potato soup In case of acid-base coloration, red orange, yellow, green, blue, blue and purple are converted into each other with chemical knowledge.
  There was a class on the photosensitive, developing and fixing of film, so I asked students to go home to find film cameras and film rolls and bring them to school. Only Jia Jie brought the film and made an agreement with her to build a darkroom and teach her to develop it. The darkroom has not yet been built, Jia Jie has long since graduated, and this roll of film is left with me.
  After contacting Jiajie, I sent her the printed electronic version. She was already on the other side of the ocean and was extremely surprised. This roll of film has been shot since 2007, and it has been filmed one after another until it is developed, and the film is curled up in the reel for 14 years. There is a bit of light leakage from one end to the other, and the overall image is dull and grainy, but Jiajie’s cleverness is recorded.
  I was thrilled with the tenacity of chemical potions and film, but no one shared it. Jia Jie replied to me with an old-fashioned saying, “It’s already a wrong person”, and attached an instant image shot and beautified with electronic technology, which is bright and arrives at the speed of light.
  In 2007, John Maloof, a garage collector and amateur historian in Chicago, bought a box of negatives with Chicago street scenes as the theme at an auction, and began to search for Vivian Maier. A nanny with a Rolleiflex camera around her neck. She took 100,000 Chicago street photos, one undeveloped, and ended up leaving it to collectors in a box of undeveloped film.
  The photographer uses the camera to compose and record, which is the first creation, because it is immersive, what you see; developing is the second creation. And Vivian Maier only photographed but not washed, leaving a lot of suspense; her identity as a nanny has provided artists and sociologists with reasons to look for Vivian Maier.
  When I was admitted to university in 1988, my parents rewarded me with a Seagull brand double-lens reflex camera, which cost 120 yuan, and followed me heavily. I have always wanted to teach students the chemical knowledge and skills related to photography, developing and fixing, but probably no one is willing to learn it.
  I asked the students, when we appreciate the ancients’ paintings, calligraphy, writing and other works in the museum, we are grateful that the ancients used material records to leave us a touchable culture; If we delete the key or the energy supply is cut off, how will future generations come to find us, or what kind of material cultural heritage can we leave behind?
  Students do not ring, get out of class is over.