I ran across this little video clip. It’s about a Chicago Nanny named Vivian Maier. In her spare time she would travel around with her camera in the streets of Chicago (and around the world apparently) and take pictures.

I guess the thing that amazes me is that we only know about her because a man bought a box of her negatives from an abandoned storage locker. That box contained about 10,000 negatives. He went back and bought more boxes off of the other auction goers. Now there is a collection of over 100,000 negatives. She took all these pictures, documenting her life and her journey – but not making a big deal out of it.

For some reason her photos captivate me. I don’t know if it’s because they’re in black and white and so crisp. Or that the people are so “ordinary” or that the composition always has a little twist if you look for it. Just very cool. And the way they were discovered and her unobtrusive back story just adds to the mystery.

The man who found that box of negatives has started piecing together a biography. He’s done a few art shows and is sharing what he’s discovered on a blog dedicated to Vivian Maier.

And here is the PBS segment that tells her story – although it looks like a full documentary film is being put together.

Watch the full episode. See more Chicago Tonight.

So what is my point? That your journey doesn’t have to go “big time” to have lots of value. Ms. Maier’s legacy comes to us only by accident. It’s that desire to leave something that can make a person think that drives me to chart a course. But you don’t take 100,000 shots in a weekend, or over a few months. It’s an accumulation of a developed habit, a discipline, a ritual that over time creates a body of work that can be shared. Maybe it’s not photos. Maybe it’s audio recordings, home made videos, a couple of pages of script, or a blog post – some form of journaling to leave a trail of breadcrumbs as a legacy to those who follow behind.

Do you feel that pull to accomplish something along these lines? If so, comment here and tell me about it. And if not, why not?