The Somerville Toy Camera Fest showcases photography at its most beautifully basic—photos made with simple (often plastic) cameras with little (if any) controls or automation. Some are pinhole cameras—a container with a film inside and a tiny hole poked in the side to let light, and the world, in.
“It’s a lens and a shutter and the film. It’s not filled with electronics. There’s no electronics probably,” says Lee Kilpatrick, who has organized the festival with Susan Berstler, Bruce Myren and Bonnie Bee. “The controls are so little that you don’t have to obsess over getting it exactly right because you can’t.”
The seventh annual festival of low-fi photography offers three exhibitions in Somerville drawn from an open call to photographers all over the place. The photos are on view at the Nave Gallery, 155 Powderhouse Boulevard, from Sept. 7 to Oct. 5; at Brickbottom Gallery,1 Fitchburg St., from Sept. 5 to Oct. 5; and at Washington St. Art, 321 Washington St., from Sept. 8 to 28.
In conjunction with these shows, festival juror Gordon Stettinius of Richmons, Virginia, is presenting a solo exhibition of his work at Griffin Museum of Photography, 67 Shore Road, Winchester, from Sept. 5 to Oct. 20.
“This stuff is kind of the opposite of what much photography is today, a lot of popular photography,” Kilpatrick says. “It’s not perfect. It’s not clean. But sometimes it has more soul than stuff that’s perfect. It’s a little democratizing too. Anyone can get a camera and do it.”
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