Past Press: 4th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show

RayKo’s Fourth Annual Juried Plastic Camera Show includes strange and stunning images made by the winners of this competition. Photographers from all over the Bay Area as well as national and international entries are featured in this dynamic exhibit. There were even more entries than last year, yet somehow we whittled it down to fewer than ninety 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…

SFGate: The Last Kodachrome’ through Jan. 21

December 30, 2010|By Mary Eisenhart

* show
The works of 23 photographers will be part of a final tribute to Kodachrome color film.

Paul Simon wrote a song about it. They named a park after it. And the photography world went into mourning last year when Kodak discontinued “the most beautiful color film ever made” after a 74-year run, most of it as an industry standard. As of the new year, Kodak will no longer process it. In mournful celebration, this juried show features 23 photographers’ works that show the film to best advantage.

Through Jan. 21. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Check website for holiday hours. RayKo Photo Center & Gallery, 428 Third St., S.F. (415) 495-3773.

SFGate: Photography show ‘Last Kodachrome’ end of an era

December 25, 2010|By Sam Whiting, Chronicle Staff Writer

Pat Willard bought forty rolls of Kodachrome when he first found out that the film would have been discontinued last year, and as of early December, he is down to his last three rolls at his residency in Redwood City, Calif. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. Willard has four prints presented at the Rayko Gallery in a show entitled “The Last Kodachrome” dedicated to the film’s 74-year history.
Credit: Kirsten Aguilar / The Chronicle

The photography show is called “The Last Kodachrome” but the last Kodachrome images aren’t in the show. They are still in Pat Willard’s Nikon camera.

They will have to come out by next week because the last lab in the world that processes the famed color film, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kan., is discontinuing it at the end of the year. The last rolls to be processed must be there by noon, Dec. 30. After 75 years, all that will be left of Kodachrome is the Paul Simon song, and a state park named after it in Utah.

There will still be a sister film called Ektachrome, but Willard, a fine art photographer in Redwood City, is not buying it.

SF Weekly’s: Best Black-and-White Photo Booth – 2010

It’s easy to sail right past the gray, no-nonsense facade of Rayko Photo Center, but step inside and you’ll be transported. The interior is wide and airy, all high ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and brick walls. Stationed in one corner is a vintage photo booth. The big, monochromatic machine can be operated only with little gold tokens purchased from the attendant. Pull your partner inside, choose a black or white background, and strike a pose. Then sit and listen while the photos develop with a series of cartoony clunks and whirs. The finished product, still wet with chemicals, spews out of a slit in a round metal orb inside the booth. The strip of stark portraits has an ethereal, otherworldly character, and each image is slightly different from the next. They’ve got that rare quality digital photography can’t master: imperfection.


Past Press: “Skeleton in the Closet”

By Jonathan Curiel Wednesday, Aug 25 2010


Fritz Liedtke offers a counterpoint to popular culture’s glorification of Angelina Jolie and her fellow fit-and-skinny vixens: photos of women with eating disorders. Even better, he lets them tell their stories with short and poignant essays, as with 19-year-old Em, who says her own mother was an anorexic who badgered her “every morning” about her weight. At RayKo Photo Center, Em stares ahead while an older woman — presumably her mom — lurks in the background. Liedtke’s photos are arresting, but what really makes “Skeleton in the Closet” stand out are the confessionals — testimony by young and old alike about what it’s like to live with a serious eating disorder. The only thing wrong: There isn’t enough of “Skeleton in the Closet” at RayKo. Six average-sized images from a photographer’s formidable project are just too small to make a big impact. Visit the photos, which are part of the exhibition “(Por)trait Revealed.”

Past Press: SFWeekly’s Wednesday’s Pick




By Michael Leaverton, Wed., Jul. 28 2010 @ 7:35AM


Your refrigerator reveals a lot about you. We’ve always known this, in a medicine-cabinet sort of way, but it took artist Mark Menjivar to really freak us out. He traveled around the country with a large-format 8-by-10 camera, quickly opened the doors of people’s refrigerators, blocked any tidying or culling, and snapped away. The open-door portraits in “You Are What You Eat,” with accompanying bits of biographical text, are enlightening, sometimes damnably so. We know the bartender in Texas should stop whatever it is he has been doing, because he cannot stop buying takeout and shoving the leftovers into his fridge; he is bricking the thing up with Styrofoam containers. His mother would be appalled. We know to avoid the single person from San Antonio on a $432 fixed income, since in toto he has only a jar of mayo and a mysterious black plastic bag. There’s not as much beer as you would think in the portraits, except in the fridge of some San Diego filmmakers — way to drink, documentary filmmakers who raise money for Ugandan children! Organics and vegetables are satisfyingly present, but perhaps too much in the home of a couple who decided to limit themselves to locally grown vegetables just a week prior. One couple evidently swears by a milk and apple diet, another has a frozen rattlesnake, and another is freezing a deer in little baggies. “You Are What You Eat” is part of the group exhibit “(Por)trait Revealed,” which features work by more than 70 photographers.

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Past Press: SF Appeal’s Events


On the corner of Harrison and 3rd Street, between a parking lot and the freeway overpass is Rayko Photo Center, a building and business that stands alone in San Francisco.



Not content to be just a state-of-the-art provider of photo printing services, Rayko also offers a full roster of classes, programs for young artists, an artist-in-residence program and three gallery spaces.

Don’t forget the store, full of great prints and photography equipment of all kinds. The clean and well designed space is flanked by brick walls, warm woods and lengthy hallway exhibition spaces. It’s an ideal location to look at and make art.

the distance
the depth
the everyday features work by Yuri Boyko, Steve E. Chapman, Kevin B. Jones and Ignacy Zulawski. Each of these artists (who are relatively unknown to San Francisco, or at least to this writer’s tiny view of San Francisco) wisely employs the full potential of photography’s medium to open up their varied subject matter in unique ways.

While you are soaking it up at the reception, check out the additional exhibitions in the main gallery, Between, work by collaborative artists Julie Anand and Damon Sauer and Epigraph, artist books by the one and only Luis Delgado-Qualtrough.

Anand and Sauer busy themselves cutting up large scale photographs and then meticulously reassembling them in sweet eye candy patterns. Luis Delgado-Qualtrough’s artist books are both critical deconstructions books and visual testaments to their seemingly sacred value.

Image courtesy of Steve Chapman, Blue Tile Special (Archival Pigment Print from an iPhone)
Article by by Aimee Le Duc

Past Press: Gentlemen Shooters

By Michael Leaverton Wednesday, Jul 9 2008


If a camera could steal your soul, it would not be a Coolpix. It would be something big and metallic and smoky, a machine from the golden age of photography that had to be tended to like it was an angry locomotive, and it would definitely not be embedded in a cell phone. The darkroom technology would have a name invoking Industrial Age nostalgia, like “the Wet-Plate Collodion Process,” which, according to the RayKo Photo Center, involves “coating an enameled metal (Ferrotype or Tintype) or glass (Ambrotype) plate with a collodion mixture” — the definition then gets incomprehensible. The fact is, many photographers still use the W.P.C, since the 150 year-old technology produces incredible looking pictures, with a milky-metallic glow that captures the depths of the soul, making everything, portrait or landscape, look timeless, mysterious, and a little bit famous. Who doesn’t want that? Today, the venue presents a group show of expert collodion photographers titled “Into the Ether.” Among the more spirited artists is John Coffer, a one-time traveling portrait tintype photographer who now lives off the land in a cabin he built, taking photos of what’s outside. Also contributing is American history re-enactor Will Dunniway, cowboy-photographer Robb Kendrick, and many more.

July 18-Aug. 28, 2008

Past Press: “You Pinhole”

By Michael Leaverton Wednesday, Apr 23 2008


People who use pinhole cameras often seem cooler than other people, and they are. To make one, pretty much all you need to do is finish your box of oatmeal. Instead of a glass lens you use a small hole. Your shutter is a flap. Da Vinci is your inspiration (“O what a point is so marvelous!” he said about the hole). To celebrate WorldWide Pinhole Photography Day, RayKo is offering pinhole workshops, as well as an opening reception for pinhole photographers Kath Kreisher and Rebecca Rome and winners from the “Juried Pinhole Photography Exhibition.” And starting at noon, a rolling, multiple-aperture camera obscura, otherwise known as a bus, is pulling up to the photo center and giving people free rides. You sit in it and watch a 360-degree, animated projection of the world passing on the windows, which are blacked out and covered with little holes — pinholes — as you listen to the work of sound artists Colleen Burke and Walter Sipser, who make music for every city the bus camera visits.

APRIL 24-JUNE 3, 2008

Hobo Filmmaker Bill Daniel’s Art Exhibit in SF


Photographer and scrappy experimental filmmaker Bill Daniel has been traveling the country in his sailvan. A 1965 Chevy with a fine set of schooner sails on top, the van is dramatic, strange, and gorgeous, like most of Daniel’s work — including the photographs in his new photography exhibit, “Sunset Scavenger.”

Four years ago, Daniel and partner Vanessa Renwick walked up Third Street toward an empty warehouse. They looked shell-shocked, angry, and afraid: It was March 2003, and the United States had just landed soldiers on Iraqi soil. The two artists were pissed-off and demoralized, but continued into the building to put the finishing touches on their massive art show, “Pretty Gritty.” The atmosphere at the art opening would be hazy with grief, and that night, the city would explode with noise, people, and helicopters. But “Pretty Gritty” was a success, allowing Daniel to finish his decades-old project, a film about railroad graffiti called Who Is Bozo Texino? The sailvan was there, too, with someone’s film screening on its proud canvas. Daniel’s current crop of large-scale photos appears in the same building, now a sleek photographic center, and the artist makes the point that we’re still in the war.

“Sunset Scavenger” includes some impressive prints, including 8-by-10s, some 2-foot, some 5-foot, and one 10-foot gelatin silver prints of black-and-white photographs, some from 35 mm, and some from monstrous 8-by-10 negatives. The main subjects are two weirdly related environments: the Sausalito rebel houseboat scene of the 1970s, and the post-Katrina wreckage of St. Bernard’s Parrish in New Orleans (“‘The federal flood’ as my friends there call it,” says Daniel). And yes, the sailvan will make an appearance.

An opening for “Sunset Scavenger” starts at 7 p.m. at RayKo Photo Center, 428 Third St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is free; call 495-3773 or visit

Hiya Swanhuyser for

Art Business: Remembering Our Grand Reopening


“Rayko Photo Center reopens with a palpable shindig after a more than four-year hiatus. Every moocher, crasher, idler, sponger, and freeloader in town was on it like maggots on carrion, cramming their faces with hooch and fodder as fast as they could shovel it down their gullets. Do you black holes of take ever think about giving back? (Sorry. I see them constantly, and it’s vent time.) Fortunately, they were well outnumbered by positives.

Speaking of positives, Rayko is for photographers and digital artists who, for whatever reason, occasionally need to borrow stuff. Rayko rents darkrooms, digital labs, printers, work stations, lighting studios, and more, usually by the hour. Rayko is also currently reviewing portfolios for their new gallery, Photographer’s Marketplace. Check it out, photographic artists. “