PhotoboothSF presents 81 Bees Photography Collective, Plastic Camera Portraits
“You never know what you’re going to get,” a spectator mentioned off hand to me while I nervously examined a brightly hued, pink camera. It sat delicately in my hand, with all the impressive weight of a small bird.
I looked up to meet a smartly dressed brunette, her hair cropped in a fashionable bob. I couldn’t help but notice an equally tiny camera in her hand as well. “When you use these, you never know what will appear on your film. It’s so different from an iPhone or a digital camera, which tells you exactly what you’re going to get. These don’t.” Then she snapped my picture, and was gone.
While the toy camera trend may be completely new to me, that didn’t seem to be the case for the exhibiting photographers. The works were lush, demonstrating an almost uncanny ability to capture a laugh in an instant, or a quiet moment of contemplation. The gathered artists used a tool that at first glance looks about as serious as a clown in a penguin suit, to craft exquisite works of art.
Each portrait is a representation of what makes photography so incredibly special; fleeting moments in time, frozen forever with the press of a button. PhotoboothSF opened in August of 2011, with the intention of showcasing the plastic camera as a medium for fine art.
Courtney S., a budding photographer and plastic camera enthusiast, noted to me “Different cameras reveal different things.” Her favorite part of the show–”The tintypes. Those portraits–the eyes reveal such intensity. So juicy, I love it!”
Tintypes, while not included in the show, are still worth mentioning. PhotoboothSF is the only tintype portrait studio in the world. The process was developed in 1851, and the images reveal themselves in a way that is similar to a Polaroid. Michael Shindler’s tintype portraits, gathered under the title Soul Stealing, reveal the intensity of the individual. Just like Courtney said, it is all in the eyes.
Plastic Camera Portraits opened February 17th, 2012 and runs until March 18th, 2012.
PhotoboothSF is located at 1193 Valencia Street @ 23rd, San Francisco, CA 94110
A very special thanks to Nathan and Vince at PhotoboothSF for taking the time to talk with me!