New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010


12th Annual International Krappy Kamera Competition Winners
Reviewer #1

One hundred and eighty-five photographers entered into this years Krappy Kamera® Competition held by Soho Photo Gallery, for photographs made with inexpensive plastic, toy or homemade cameras, or for some reason cell-phone cameras. The juror for the show, Daile Kaplan from the Swann Auction House, chose 50 images from 49 photographers for this show and although the show is to some degree a reflection of the juror’s taste, it is constrained to a large extent by the images that entrants deemed appropriate to submit in the first place. And those images seemed to be hopelessly pedestrian – landscapes, florals, and portraits, almost all done in a neo-pictorialist style with the prerequisite vignetting and distortion on the edges. All effects, by the way, that can be easily added to any image even from a good camera, with a just a few, quick photoshop filters.

More disheartening then the overall tenor of the show however was the presentation of the images. Nearly all the images were inkjet prints, and while this technology is capable of extraordinary results – and in this show prints by Robert Holmgren and by Dan Burkholder illustrate the possibilities – the majority of the prints were indifferently done, and the default Photoshop/Epsom color set lies heavy over the exhibition.

Standouts in the show more often than not turned out to be good, old-fashioned silver gelatin prints, Michael Gonzales’ straight-forward photo of a boxer, Sharon Stoney’s multiple exposure of a woman and a dog “Suzanne and Cochise” and a portrait by Bill Barker, that is stunning at first glance until it becomes unbearably stupid a moment later as all the particulars register. Also standing out are a triptych self-portrait and portrait tintypes and ambrotypes by S. Gayle Stevens.

Is there a take-away from a show like this? The press release for the show states, “...in the hands of an artist, any piece of equipment can be used to create engaging photographs.” Oh well, there’s still Krappy Kamera® XIII!


12th Annual International Krappy Kamera Competition Winners


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Tuesday, March 2 to
Saturday, April 3, 2010
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