Selfies from the 1950s

One of the many benefits of living near two state universities is the steady flow of art and culture they bring to the geographical area I call home. Recently, I had the pleasure of a free afternoon in which I found myself wandering among a poignant collection of work by street photographer Vivian Maier that was on display at the Washington State University Museum of Art. I was really struck by the candid nature of her photos, and when I returned home, I did a little more research on this fascinating woman.

Man with mirror

Man with mirror via

I love the thought of Vivian Maier wandering in 1950s New York City, camera in hand, capturing ordinary life for five solid decades. And I am truly fascinated by the number of “selfies” she took, celebrating her unique character at a time in our history when that type of behavior was often considered “unladylike.” She certainly couldn’t hold her Rolleiflex camera out at arm’s length like we do today, so she had to capture her reflection, which in turn, often captured unintentional snippets of life in the background.

self portrait via

I found some of my favorites from the gallery at It’s worth some time to browse her story and portfolios and get to know her a little better.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love her photographic “eye” for images of life that tell a story. What a great selfie she took back in the day!

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