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Toys are fun and fun is good, as any Dr. Seuss reader knows. Both toys and fun are being served up right now at the Somerville Toy Camera Festival, but only through September 27, 2015, so visit soon. This is one of my favorite Boston area events!
Just what is a toy camera and why would an adult play with one on purpose? Quickly and shoddily produced in far-flung countries, these cheap cameras necessitate film negatives and usually a lot of tape to prevent light leaks. The best and worst thing about them is that you can’t predict what you’ll get and, for the right kind of photographer, this is truly exciting. In its third year, the Somerville Toy Camera Festival is celebrating “the quirky results that occur when photographers are forced to loosen their controls, submit to the light and embrace the accidental.” Festival judge Aline Smithson puts it this way: “The joy of toy camera photography is that it feels artful and more like a memory, spontaneous and sometimes surprising. There is the anticipation of waiting for the film to be processed and the excitement of seeing the results. Less joyful are the disappointments, but that is certainly part of the appeal. I love that toy cameras, however simplistic, keep us connected to our analog roots.”
There is truly something for everyone in these exhibitions and I’d suggest bringing the kids, too. The imagery displays wonderfully unique perspectives, both in subject matter and in the creative combinations of cameras and films utilized, providing a spicy visual jambalaya. With topics ranging from the abstract to landscapes, the work veers from somber to eerie to clever to whimsical, with everything in-between. For grown-ups, one of the tastiest aspects of the offerings are the appetizing, “take-out” prices (those who’ve just moved into an abode with waiting walls, take note.)
Juried by Aline Smithson, publisher of Lenscratch, the 2015 Festival features work by nearly 100 artists from 5 countries and 26 US states in concurrent exhibits at the Nave Gallery, Nave Gallery Annex, and Washington Street Gallery. Related programming throughout the month of September includes a street-shooting-with-toy-camera workshop, a darkroom day, the STCF Lo-Fi Lounge, and an artists’ panel. For the locations and full schedule, go to: http://www.somervilletoycamera.org/gallery-locations/
Feature Image: Installation view of Somerville Toy Camera Festival at Nave Gallery (iPhone with toy camera app photo by Elin Spring – just kidding).