Tomorrow evening, Soho Photo Gallery (15 White Street, NY 10013) will host the 17th International Krappy Kamera® Exhibition. The show began 22 years ago when a few of the gallery artists were viewing a show of pinhole images on the wall. All agreed that there was something so special and unique about these images that it could not be replicated with expensive equipment. The photographers acknowledged that they owned collections of very cheap plastic cameras that were unpredictable, uncontrollable, junky, and wonderful. The term Krappy Kamera was coined that evening and one artist decided to put a call out to the gallery for the first Krappy Kamera Exhibition. The show was a huge success. The media picked up on it and it became one of the most exciting events in Soho Photo. Five years later the show went national and eventually international.
This brings us to the question; What makes an image great? I maintain that it is the photographer, not the equipment, that creates compelling images. As the coordinator of this show for 20 years, I have observed extraordinary work using the lowest end of equipment.
Miriam Leuchter, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Photography and American Photo was the competition’s juror, judging images made with krappy kameras including Holgas, Dianas, and homemade cameras.
“I was struck and inspired by the quality and variety of the photographs in this year’s competition. The best of them combine real artistry and personal vision with the sort of flawed capture and happy accident that could only come from a truly Krappy Kamera.”
How is it that this small segment of fine art photographers can achieve so much with so little? They remember that the image is made by the person…not the camera.