SF Examiner: “Plastic cameras reveal the cheap and cheerful”

By: Lauren Gallagher | 02/01/12 8:15 PM - 

Special to The SF Examiner


Less is more: “San Fernando Valley,” shot by Thomas Alleman with a Holga camera, is among the images on view in a fun show at RayKo Photo Center.

Never underestimate the power and pleasures of a cheap toy camera. The humble hunks of plastic have a magic, mystery and whimsy that cannot be duplicated, not even by tech-savvy iPhone app impersonators like the Hipstamatic.

RayKo Photo Center’s fifth annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show, on view through March 6, celebrates the versatility of the medium with impressive results.

A white wedding dress rests on a faceless mannequin, posed in a storefront window. Other dresses, hangers and shop miscellany float across the photo like ghosts, with the city street reflected in the glass. Though it looks as if it could be by pioneering early-20th-century photographer Eugene Atget, Jacqueline Walters of San Francisco took the photo with a Holga, a camera invented in the early 1980s.

The Holga and its big sister, the Diana, seem to be the most favored cameras in the show, perhaps because an actual vintage camera is no longer required. Reproductions of these and other plastic toy cameras are widely available, continuing the lineage of their pleasantly fickle results.

Part of the fetishistic appeal of cheaply manufactured cameras lies in the complete uniqueness of each image. No two pictures are alike, and the results are unpredictable. The bare-bones plastic manufacturing is far from airtight, often allowing light to access the pre-developed film.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/fine-arts/2012/02/plastic-cameras-reveal-cheap-and-cheerful#ixzz1lM0M7Bfm

Read full article here.