Silicon Valley Plastic Camera Show

Silicon Valley Plastic Camera Show
Silicon Valley Plastic Camera Show
If you're unfamiliar with plastic cameras, also called toy cameras, even sometimes referred to as crappy cameras, they are inexpensive, functional cameras with shutters and most often plastic lenses instead of glass lenses to accompany those plastic camera bodies. For the past decade, I've been jurying the annual plastic camera show at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco. RayKo was a place that embraced all things analog, and these film cameras fit the bill. I also used to incorporate the plastic camera, namely the Holga plastic camera, into my courses at the Maine Photographic Workshops where I taught for a decade prior to moving to California. It seemed the perfect prescription for someone paralyzed by where to place their Zone 3 shadow, was to tell them to fold up their view camera and hand them a toy camera instead. I then saw these cheap plastic cameras as tools that freed the photographer to just see, purely and simply, and stop worrying about exposure and aperture and all the rest.

I was thrilled to see all the entries for the Silicon Valley Plastic Camera Show. This exhibition includes magical, beautiful, surreal, and sometimes surprising images made by these plastic cameras (Often the cameras themselves are more tape than plastic. They aren't just 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 across the nation are featured in this dynamic exhibit. Whenever I see work made with toy cameras, I ask myself 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 all those filters on your phone, 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. The type of camera that was used to make the images in this exhibition is listed alongside the photograph, so take note. You too can fall in love with Holga and Diana* and a world of other lo-tech cameras, like my new favorite, the Bluebird.

Ann Jastrab, juror

*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...

Thomas Alleman

Thomas Alleman

Richard Bonvissuto

Richard Bonvissuto

Giselle Brewton

Giselle Brewton

Diane Kaye

Diane Kaye

Lisa Lindamood

Lisa Lindamood

Lisa Lindamood

Lisa Lindamood

Eric Lindbloom

Eric Lindbloom

Eben Ostby

Eric Lindbloom

Cynthia Pastore

Cynthia Pastore

Jim Rohan

Jim Rohan

Robert Schneider

Robert Schneider

Norma

Norma

Ken Stevens

Ken Stevens

Yuhang Qian

Yuhang Qian

JP Terlizzi

JP Terlizzi

Laura Watt

Laura Watt

Jonas Yip

Jonas Yip


  Sillicon Valley Plastic Camera Show
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Photography News

News
Meet CPA
Meet CPA's New Executive Director Ann Jastrab
This is your opportunity to learn more about the Center for Photographic Art's fabulous new incoming Executive Director, Ann Jastrab! She will recount...
  Read More
News
Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest announces 2019 finalists
Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest announces 2019 finalists
The Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest has published the shortlist of the 2019 winners. The competition jury, which included leading...
  Read More
News
Festival La Gacilly
Festival La Gacilly
Every year, the La Gacilly Photo Festival attracts over 300,000 visitors to Brittany and 200,000 to Baden in Austria. Thanks to its presence in...
  Read More
News
Obsessions: The Magnum Square Print Sale
Obsessions: The Magnum Square Print Sale
The June 2019 Magnum Square Print Sale will see Magnum photographers and estates delve into their archives to select a single image that reflects the...
  Read More
News
Gordon Parks: The Flàvio Story at the Getty
Gordon Parks: The Flàvio Story at the Getty
The J. Paul Getty Museum announces an exhibition of photographs by celebrated artist Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006). On view July 9-November 10,...
  Read More
News
Book: Flight of Spirit, The Photographs of Anne Noggle
Book: Flight of Spirit, The Photographs of Anne Noggle
In the history of photography, Anne Noggle (1922-2005) stands alone among the great American photographers for her powerful, wry portraits and...
  Read More
News
Martino Marangoni: Rebuilding my days in New York 1959-2018
Martino Marangoni: Rebuilding my days in New York 1959-2018
As the son of an Italian father and an American mother, Martino Marangoni (born 1950) regularly spent time in New York, where, impressed by the city's...
  Read More
News
Mexico Between Life and Death by Harvey Stein
Mexico Between Life and Death by Harvey Stein
Harvey Stein's fascination with Mexico began when he was a teenager. Compared to the ordinary surroundings of his youth in Pittsburgh, Mexico seemed a...
  Read More
News
Overall winners revealed for 2019 Sony World Photography Awards
Overall winners revealed for 2019 Sony World Photography Awards
The World Photography Organisation today names the overall winners of the prestigious 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. The coveted Photographer of...
  Read More
News
Results of All About Photo Awards 2019 - The Mind
Results of All About Photo Awards 2019 - The Mind's Eye
It was a privilege and an honor to be one of the jurors for this new edition of All About Photo Awards 2019. First of all, I would like to thank...
  Read More
News
VII in Sarajevo: Festival of the Image
VII in Sarajevo: Festival of the Image
From May 9 - 11, the newly formed VII Academy, a project of the VII Foundation and partner of VII Photo Agency, will host a three-day festival of...
  Read More
News
The Cincinnati Art Museum acquires Nancy Rexroth
The Cincinnati Art Museum acquires Nancy Rexroth's archive
The Cincinnati Art Museum announces a landmark acquisition agreement to form The Nancy Rexroth Collection, which will bring together over 300 rare and...
  Read More
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices