Photographers who inspire - Rolleiflex Camera

You know that I love the comments here and the banter on twitter. I am so lucky to have such charming and fun and smarty-pants readers. One of them, Dave Cooper, made a comment on my blog post about Vivian Maier. And in it he introduced me to ANOTHER street photographer who like Vivian shot for years in obscurity. In fact his photographs weren't discovered until 45 years AFTER he died.

Thanks Dave Cooper (check out his site - he's a professional photographer with a tasty sense of style. And married to Jen of Classic Play).

That longish preamble aside, my POINT is that while I was looking through Vivian Maier's portfolio, I saw a certain type of camera in her self portraits.

Holding it at waist height. What looks like two lenses. Some kind of strange attachment on top. And obviously a film camera too.

Then I looked at the website of the photographer that Dave pointed me to. A New York Times article about Frank Oscar Larson noted the he would go out "...armed with his favourite Rolleiflex camera..." What is this camera?

It's a Rolleiflex. Introduced in Germany in 1929, it's STILL manufactured today. 

The bottom lens produces the picture while the top lens shows you what it will look like. You hold it at waist height and look through the top.

It's a quiet, quick loading film camera. Light weight. Produces superior quality photographs. Perfect for street photography.

The Rolleiflex was Irving Penn's first camera. Richard Avedon and Robert Doisneau used it too in the early and middle parts of his career.

And accessible both technically and financially for amateurs like Vivian Maier and Frank Oscar Larsson.

Have you ever used one? I've never shot with a film camera being so new to this. The man has - when we met it was ALL film. Now I am intrigued. I might JUST have to track one down and give it a whirl.