Rayko Photo Center provides a stimulus to the Bay Area photography scene that is immeasurable. Aside from providing rental studio, darkroom, and digital printing access, they offer a wide variety of classes and workshops in traditional, digital, and most important (in my view), alternative processes. I just finished a terrific Critique workshop with a very generous instructor-J. John Priola*. This was a very good experience, and if I can muster up enough work, will take it again-John is an excellent facilitator.
During this time, Rayko announced that their Gallery would be closing- a huge blow to our community. San Francisco has always had a vibrant photography scene, and there are a few galleries that are photo specific, but they tend to cater to the Art world, and the “specialness” of that world. In the time I have been going to Rayko, their gallery, under the direction of Ann Jastub, has produced thoughtful and engaging shows, including the current and final exhibit-
10TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL JURIED PLASTIC CAMERA SHOW
Like other Hipster trends, there is an element of the plastic camera movement that is just another form of “coolness consumerism”, but this is different. This is a juried show, and it isn’t about coolness, it is about creativity.
And it sings.
I asked permission to take note with my phone.
The work ranges from images that are photographically interesting
to being photographically interesting with a dose of plastic camera quirkiness,
and then to more experimental works of conception and process. My favorites were by a pinhole shot by Andy Mattern
and two images where Robert Schneider reversed the lenses on his Brownie Camera
Also on display were images from past years,a Holga panorama by Veronika Lukasova
Aline Smithson, who apparently used this set built from Legos
Robert Holgren printed this starfish in sections on tracing paper, then stitched it together with staples,
and this beautiful print from Michael Borek
The rest of the gallery space is generously devoted to print rack where students can sell their work at very reasonable prices, and a very engaging collection of antique and unique cameras and accessories. The value of this display should not be taken lightly, for inside of every gearhead is an appreciation of all of those knobs, gears, and especially the lenses.
I went through this show twice yesterday, partly because it is so captivating, and also inspiring.
But I also wanted to just hang out, and absorb that great Rayko Photo vibe.