Many of us are prone to taking selfies, but what if inanimate objects also had narcissistic tendencies? Photographer Jürgen Novotny (aka J. F. Novotny) explores this concept in his playful series, CameraSelfies. The ongoing series documents his collection of rare vintage cameras by setting them up to take photos of themselves in the mirror.
Novotny feels it’s important to celebrate these “beautiful mechanical miracles of their time”—many of which are sadly discarded in favor of digital equipment. “They reminded me of the fate of the toys in ‘Toy Story’: still fully functional yet not needed anymore; I became a little bit angry and began to think of their fate,” Novotny tells My Modern Met.
Now with a collection of around 90 cameras, each one is given its own intimate close-up. From a 1970s Polaroid Land Camera 1000 to a 1980s pink compact Beirette SL 100N, each selfie is styled with patterned wallpaper backgrounds that give us an idea of the era they come from.
Novotny believes that each analog camera has its own personality since the engineers that made them put so much heart and soul into their design, and this is certainly captured in each image. “I believe that a part of your soul remains in the things you’ve created,” he explains. “I hope some of my works make these ‘soul pieces' successfully visible.”