Most of our smartphones contain digital cameras that rival the best that money could buy less than a decade ago. We often pay hundreds of dollars for these devices. And what do we do with them? Filter our 8-megapixel masterpieces through apps such as Hipstamatic and Instagram, to lend that elusive "shitty camera" sheen of yesteryear's cheap point-and-click models. It makes a persuasive case for Devo's grand theory of devolution -- as a race, we're going backward. But whether the trend toward faux-distressed photos with blown-out colors is mindless fun or the worst kind of kitsch, the results definitely lack the authentic charm of photos taken with a real, bottom-shelf, analog camera. Said cameras are becoming harder to find, but RayKo gallery director Ann Jastrab must have a secret stash, which she dispatched for "the International Juried Plastic Camera Show," which opens tonight (Wednesday). Jastrab describes the show as an exhibition of "the best images from the worst cameras."
From a slew of entries, RayKo curated 100 photos taken by professionals such as Robert Holmgren, proving that a talented photographer can capture an indelible image using any lens, and that no sophisticated image-processing algorithm can match the warm, seren-dipitous imperfection of analog.
The opening reception for "the International Juried Plastic Camera Show" starts at 6 p.m. at RayKo Photo Center, 428 Third St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is free.