Twin Lens Reflex


Totally fascinated by this story of Vivian Maier:

See more at Vivian Maier Photography.

Anytime I see old photos in an antique store I can’t resist them. And I wonder about who was behind the camera……


I recently borrowed this old TLR Pho-Tak from Lisa and brought it out to show Boo how Vivian Maier would have taken her photos. The TLR camera is held at about waist height and you can see the image through the hood on the top.  It’s only in focus if you look at it from that distance:


I cut a piece of cardboard tube to attach to the end of my DSLR camera so Boo could capture what she was seeing through the TLR lens:

Fun with a vintage TLR Camera via


We could only take a few before we lost the sunlight:

“Mommy taking a picture of me taking a picture of her”


I love the grainy, flawed photos that result from looking through the old, scratched lens.


I’ve got to make the tube to the camera light proof…..and then we can play around with it more.





  1. Vera says

    I also loved reading about Vivian Maier and looking at her photos. I have a plastic TLR that I haven’t gotten around to playing with but hopefully soon :)

  2. Denise says

    That sweet old lady dropping the “f-bomb” TOTALLY cracked me up! lol I love old photos too, they always look so beautiful because they are not crystal clear and you don’t see every little detail you get to appreciate the picture as a whole and not focus on how big that lady’s pores are lol Detail can also make beautiful pictures too, but when it comes to portraits I like the “soft” look that older cameras and film always produced. Maybe because I’m the lady with the huge pores? lol

  3. Ann says

    This was incredible. I have an old Duoflex II that I’d rather take pictures on than anything else. I figured out how to modify film to fit in the camera, since it’s film isn’t made anymore. I’d never heard of Vivian M and my husband I have been on the couch watching every video we could find about her work on the Internet. It’s a truly amazing story! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Joy T. says

    I heard about her a few years ago… there was another on-line video that showed a collection of her self portraits from all her photos… she was such a raw talent and obviously uncomfortable with her work. She reminds me of some other very raw female photographers I adore (the name is escaping me right now, darn! If it comes back to me, I’ll post it!). Maybe someday my photos will be discovered (although probably by my grandchildren)… I inherited a collection of photos that my grandfather took, he used to be the official photographer for the railroads… talk about AWESOME photos! And the processing and papers at the time were so unique! I’m afraid to frame them!!!