Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sepia Saturday # 318 :Reflections

Vivian Maier and her work were recently brought to my attention. When I saw the prompt this week, I thought of the many splendid and unusual photos she'd taken of herself with her trusty Rolleiflex and my imagination transported me to the dark and dusty section of a used camera shop. 

Vivian Maier self-portrait
Harold's Used Camera Shop
8967 S. Optical Avenue
New York, New York

Dearest Vivian
Thanks for sending the self-portrait - honestly, I can't believe you found me. I chuckled when I saw you chose to send me this photo, out of all those we shot that day. There I am, front and center, nestled in your hand, hogging the spotlight as it were! And you were only partially in the picture! I have to admit I was so surprised to see my own reflection that I didn't pay close attention the rest of the shot.

Now that I look at it again, I can see what genius was at work. The way you held the light; the reflection in the mirror of you and you and you and me and me and me; the way you can see both the front and back of you and me, but not completely. Only partial views - the way most of the rest of the world views us both. Here's another photo we shot that day. Somebody brought it into the shop and everyone talked about how you were the original Queen of the Selfie. I have no idea what they're talking about but I do know this was an intense day and we did some great work together.

Vivian Maier self-portrait was such an honor to be held in your competent and talented hands for so long. What a team we made! Now that I'm "out of the picture" so to speak, sitting here on the top shelf in the dust, my happiest moments are remembering our times together. It was a high point in my career that's for sure.

Once in a while, someone comes into this place and notices me way up here. They even take out their fancy smart phones and take pictures of me for Facebook, whatever that is -  but no one holds me in their hands, peers into my viewfinder or brings me to life with a little film. You were the last Viv and the very best.

Again, thanks for the memories.....

Your pal forever,
Rollei Flex

Vivian's cameras


  1. Dressing room mirrors can sometimes create that Fun House effect.

  2. She had a great assortment of cameras. What would she think about today's "selfies" and the selfies stick!? She was 83 in 2009 when she died, wondering if she ever used one of the digital cameras.

  3. The last self portrait is a classic. I can see a case being made for photographers 'bombing' their own shots.

  4. Great photo selection for the prompt. I like the multiple reflections.

  5. Love the photos and the dialog.

  6. Very clever! And the pictures are pretty good, too. :)

  7. A very interesting "take" on this week's prompt.

  8. Very creative! I love the photos in the photos in the photos….

  9. Bravo! A wonderful spin on the theme! You've captured the anthropomorphic quality of a camera perfectly. I think Vivian Maier's self portraits and candid urban photographs are the finest examples of the art of photography. I've watched the documentary on her life and it's very frightening how the work of this reclusive woman came so close to being lost forever. There are such an enormous number of her negatives that have yet to be scanned, we can expect many more fantastic images in years to come.

  10. A very creative ‘snapshot’ in the life of a camera.