Carrying a Rolleiflex around, people come up to you to talk about it. And you can approach people with the line, “Can I take your photo, I have this old camera I’m shooting,” which is the 100% complete truth, and people will let you. It’s a great ice breaker. That’s how the image at right was made.
I had just left a screening at the Boulder Theater of Finding Vivian Maier, a wonderful documentary of a woman/nanny/photographer who shot thousands of rolls of film, and whose work was only discovered after she had passed on. Vivian shot with a Rolleiflex, so naturally, after the show, I brought out mine to show folks, and shot these two sitting on the Pearl Street Mall.
It has another quality, it can make you business. I shoot Senior Portraits in Colorado, and the woman I bought the camera from called me a year later and asked me to shoot her son’s senior portraits, including some with the Rolleiflex. And we did just that.
This last photo was shot with the Rolleiflex just last week at the senior portrait shoot. It’s a joy to be able to use these cameras both for personal and professional work.
In any case, the Rolleiflex, if you haven’t tried one, find one and give it a shoot. You’ll find it’s very comfortable to work with, fits well in the hands and isn’t too heavy like many of the 6×6 SLRs, like Bronicas and RB67s are.
Yet it feels solid, like it’s quality engineering you’re shooting with. Just like a Leica feels, if you’re familiar with them.
And one conversation leads to a portrait, and then another conversation, and another portrait, and on.