August 6, 2013. The Nave Gallery (Somerville, MA) and the Washington Street Art Center (Somerville, MA) have teamed up to produce the first ever Somerville Toy Camera Festival. The festival is an ode to the unexpected, reveling in the quirky and creative results that happen when a photographer is forced to loosen his or her controls.
Defined as any low-end, low-tech, limited-control camera, the “toy camera” has been a source of inspiration for both art spaces, with each having held a toy camera exhibition in the past. “Our past shows have been hugely successful,” says Susan Berstler, director of the Nave Gallery and Nave Gallery Annex. “People respond positively to photography because they see the familiar stare back at them. The image triggers memories and emotions associated with those memories, making the viewing experience highly personal. With toy camera photography, these images are different than regular photography; whether it is through the process or the limited scope of the camera, the familiar becomes altered, and people are fascinated by that.”
When it came time to brainstorm about the next toy camera show, a city-wide festival made the most sense. “When the Nave approached us about collaborating, we were instantly on board,” said Lee Kilpatrick, photographer and director of the Washington Street Art Center. “In an age where imperfections can disappear with digital editing, there is something particularly delightful about toy camera photography. The photographic process can be awkward, and though it can result in technical ‘mistakes’, there is still something authentic about it that resonates with the audience.”
The festival takes place over the course of two months at three locations in Somerville. The Washington Street Art Center will kick-off the opening with an August exhibition entitled: Black, White, and a Little Local Color. The exhibition features the work of Jim Baab, Richard Chase, Liz Ellenwood, Alice Grossman, Stephanie Goode, Beth Hankes, Lee Kilpatrick, Patty Lemke, Ted Ollier, Colby Perry, Rebecca Philio, Ana M. Reyes and Nicholas Shectman. An opening reception will take place on Saturday, August 10, from 7-9 pm.
The festival continues throughout the month of September at the Nave Gallery in Teele Square and the Nave Gallery Annex in Davis Square. The spaces feature the work of national and international artists, and include: Meg Birnbaum, Mara Brod, Kelly Burgess, Kathy Chapman, Ron Cowie, Ashley Craig, Perry Dilbeck, Sara Fields, Bill Franson, Shawna Gibbs, J.M. Golding, Warren Harold, Silke Hase, Jennifer Henriksen, Karen Janus, Michael Kirchoff, Jose Manuel Madrona, C. Gary Moyer, Suzanne Révy, Claudia Ripee, Michelle Sheppard, Barbara Traub, Bill Vaccaro, Kavita Venkateswar, Elizabeth Wood and James Zall.
“We’re pleased with the response for our inaugural year,” Berstler notes. We’re already planning on an expanded festival next year, and hope to get many more art spaces in Somerville involved.”
Schedule of Exhibitions and Events
The Washington Street Arts Center
Exhibit dates: August 10-31, 2013
Opening reception: Saturday, August 10, 7-10 pm
Gallery hours: Saturday, 12-4 pm
The Nave Gallery
Exhibit dates: September 7-28, 2013
Opening reception: Friday, September 6, 6-9 pm
Gallery hours: Saturday & Sunday, 1-5 pm
The Nave Annex
Exhibit dates: September 11-29, 2013
Opening reception: Wednesday, September 11, 6-9 pm
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Friday, 6-8 pm; Saturday, 2-8 pm; Sunday, 2-6 pm