Madison Plastic Camera Group Exhibit Now Showing at Guenzel Gallery

Artful Effects of the Toy Camera are the Focus of Peninsula School of Art Exhibition.

The exhibition, “Life Through a Plastic Lens,” November 20 – January 2, at the Peninsula School of Art, 3900 County Road F in Fish Creek, reveals how the “imperfections” of plastic, toy cameras produce welcome results for the photographers of the Plastic Camera Group of Madison, WI. On November 21, at 4pm, there will be an artists’ discussion held prior to the opening reception, scheduled from 5 – 7 pm. The exhibit and associated events are free and open to the public.

Image from the Madison Plastic Camera Group

Image from the Madison Plastic Camera Group

Approximately 60 photographs will be on display, including a handful of works provided by students who recently attended a Holga camera photography workshop at the Peninsula School of Art. Subject matter for the exhibition includes both rural and urban landscapes, portraits, street photography and still-life compositions.

Embracing “problems” such as light leaks, uneven focus and low contrast, photographers will often collect a number of these simple, inexpensive cameras to take advantage of each camera’s known idiosyncrasies.

The­­ cameras used by the Pla­­stic Camera Group range from the classic Diana (produced in the 1960s by the Great Wall Plastic Company in Hong Kong), to the Holga, which was introduced in 1982, also in Hong Kong. The Holga was created to provide an inexpensive consumer camera for the Chinese mainland, where 120 film was more readily available than 35 mm. One member of the Plastic Camera group uses a Velveeta Cheese 110 camera, once an advertising give-a-way.

A sampling of cameras of various vintage will also be on display during “Life through a Plastic Lens.”

The popularity and creative freedom involved in utilizing a plastic camera has led to modified versions – either manufactured or retrofitted by photographers. These models include flash, pinhole, panorama, 3-D stereo, a Holga with a Polaroid back called a Holga-roid, and versions that use 35mm film.

Image from the Madison Plastic Camera Group

Image from the Madison Plastic Camera Group

Holga and Diana images consistently appear in fine art photography books and exhibitions, and claim prestigious awards. In 2001, David Burnett won the White House Press Photographers Award for his Holga photo of Al Gore at a campaign stop.

Peninsula School of Art, located in the heart of Door County, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the visual arts through education, exhibitions and community outreach. Peninsula School of Art offers one- to five-day workshops, lectures, exhibits and family-friendly events for students of all ages and abilities. The School and Guenzel Gallery are located at 3900 County Hwy F, in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm.

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