© Vera Saltzman // Vera and Sally


Vera Saltzman

The Story behind the Portrait

When time came for my mom to move from her home into an apartment, it also meant time for me to move my things out of the attic. There, amongst the pink insulation, sat Sally. For all these years my mother had saved her (and I continue to keep her) my walking doll, safely tucked into my closet.

I noticed my mother-in-law also had a doll sitting quietly in a spare bedroom. ‘Why had she kept it?’ I wondered, and were there other women like us who had also kept their childhood dolls? So started the journey of finding and photographing the series ‘Sue and Winnie‘.

Sigmund Freud believed the uncanny to be something which leads us back to what is old and familiar but is, at the same time, ‘unheimlich’ or uncomfortable. This series explores the idea of the uncanny as it manifests in a longing for youth, and a recognition of mortality. The images are tinged with a sense of ‘momento mori’ – remember that you are mortal.

The inclusion of this self portrait in the ‘Sue and Winnie‘ series of images is a visual confrontation of my own fragility.


When Vera Saltzman lived in the Canadian Arctic she turned to photography to to build a bridge between herself and the Inuit, a friendship of sorts – a visual record of an intangible exchange. After returning south to Ottawa she attended the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), graduating from their portfolio development program in 2012.

Through her work, Vera focuses her attention on issues of identity and the development of a sense of place, the fragility of life, and the passage of time. She has won an Applied Arts Award for her series Sue and Winnie and was a runner up in the Creative Quarterly: Journal of Art and Design for her series Cry of the Lake Dwellers. Her work has been published in the The Altantic (online) Applied Arts magazine, SHOTS magazine, Black and White Magazine and the British Journal of Photography.

Currently Vera lives in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan and is represented by Slate Fine Art Gallery in Regina.