5th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show

MAIN & SIDE GALLERIES: 01/18/12 – 03/06/12

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RayKo’s Fifth Annual Plastic Camera Show includes stunning and sometimes surprising images made by the crappy camera-toting winners of this competition (often the cameras themselves are more tape than plastic. Not just being held together with bits of electrical tape and black gaffers tape, but the tape also makes these cheap cameras light tight…not that the light leaks don’t often make the resulting pictures even more interesting). Photographers from all over the Bay Area as well as national and international artists are featured in this dynamic exhibit. Each year we receive thousands of entries and this year was another challenge to select only 100 compelling pieces. Why does the plastic camera continue to be so popular? Is it because the toy camera is a backlash to this digital age of photography? It could be nostalgia for the soft, square pictures with vignetted edges. It could just be nostalgia for film and the latent image- you actually have to wait to see what you shot! Or it could be love of the creak of the cheap plastic dial as you wind it, wondering if it will break off. (Forget the Hipstamatic app, this is the real deal). It could be too that we all missed the simple freedom of making pictures that aren’t perfect, that don’t have to be sharp or real or saturated or taken with a camera that costs thousands of dollars. All you need is $35 (or less) and a roll of film, and you’re in business. After seeing the exhibit, you may be inspired to start shooting one of these beauties yourself. Luckily RayKo is offering a class where you can reconnect with the simple joys of photography and have the ultimate plastic experience. Jeanne Hauser will be teaching a 3-week class on Plastic Cameras starting March 8th, just after the exhibition ends.

Also highlighted in this year’s plastic camera exhibit is the work of Bay Area artist, Robert Holmgren, who’s been our best of show winner in the past for his unique way of seeing this land of ours. He transforms familiar and foreign scenes with his singular vision, his beat-up camera and his special (and secret) printing technique. Come see the magic and experience nostalgia on more than one level. You can fall in love with Holga and Diana* and a world of other lo-tech cameras, like my new favorite, the Sprocket Rocket.

*The Holga and the Diana are plastic medium format cameras that have limited controls, a fixed focal length lens, and, luckily for artists everywhere, each one is unique…”