on reflections in the glass, self-portraits
Occasionally there I am, hiding behind the viewfinder of the camera, not hiding well, I might add, sometimes distorted by the light and darkness of the glass. I catch my self in a reflection from a window.
Vivian Maier, the street photographer, who died unknown, took self-portraits well and with humor.
Later, after her death when John Maloof discovered boxes of her photographs at an action, undeveloped, a book dedicated to her self-portraits was published.
I look around my apartment and I see one passport photo sticking out from a book; I am using it as a book marker. If I pull out my driver’s license, I see what I looked like a few years ago. I have no other photographs of myself in the apartment.
It is not uncommon to see someone on the street, holding up a smart phone, and taking a selfie. Friends who gather do it. Family members capture that moment with their phones. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
I don’t remember ever taking a selfie, except for a weak moment, when I am looking into a window with my camera in hand and I see a reflection of the world I am walking trough and it looks interesting in some way and without thinking, it is always without thinking, I raise the camera. Then, I will pause. And snap, more quickly than two fingers. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
I am still hidden though. Unseen with the camera covering my eyes, my face, those all important features on a person that offer those first hints, most immediately, of who you are. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Vivian Maier does not hide behind her camera. We see her face. Is that by any chance a Mona Lisa-like smile we see? Is she bemused?
She used a box camera. She looked down into it and saw what she wanted and then without moving and without full breaths she looked up into her reflection and took the photograph.
One day. Yes, one day.