Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity

2nd Edition

By Michelle Bates


272 pages

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Take a tour of the burgeoning world of plastic cameras and low-tech photography in this fun and funky guide to creating the most artistic pictures of your life! Whether you're an experienced enthusiast or toy camera neophyte, you'll find this guide full of tantalizing tips, fun facts, and absolutely striking photographs taken with the lowest tech tools around.

You'll learn how to prep your plastic camera, their advantages and quirks, and what film to feed it. You'll also explore what makes a good subject, vignetting, multiple exposures, panoramas, close-ups, night photography, color, flash, problems and solutions, and so much more. Michelle Bates also takes you from a negative to either prints or pixels so that you can show off your photos and jump on the toy-camera revolution!

Contributors include:

Michael Ackerman, Thomas Michael Alleman, Erin Antognoli, Jonathan Bailey , James Balog, Michelle Bates, Phil Bebbington, Gyorgy Beck, Susan Bowen, Laura Corley Burlton, David Burnett, Susan Burnstine, Nancy Burson, Perry Dilbeck, Jill Enfield, fotovitamina, Annette Elizabeth Fournet, Brigitte Grignet, Eric Havelock-Bailie, Christopher James, Michael Kenna, Wesley Kennedy, Teru Kuwayama, Louviere & Vanessa, Mary Ann Lynch, Anne Arden McDonald, Ted Orland, Sylvia Plachy, Dan Price, Becky Ramotowski, Nancy Rexroth, Francisco Mata Rosas, Richard Ross, Franco Salmoiraghi, Rosanna Salonia, Jennifer Shaw, Nancy Siesel, Mark Sink, Kurt Smith, Sandy Sorlien, Pauline St. Denis, Harvey Stein, Gordon Stettinius, Ryan Synovec, Rebecca Tolk, Marydorsey Wanless, Shannon Welles, Matthew Yates, Dan Zamudio


"Following the success of the first edition, the second edition makes Plastic Cameras even more comprehensive and up to date. This book provides extensive how-to information to get you started and a new section on alternative processes for the advanced photographers. This ultimate guide is also packed with many inspiring photos by world renowned Holga artists such as Sylvia Plachy, Michael Kenna, Thomas Michael Alleman, Brigitte Grignet, Christopher James and many other additions."--Holga Inspire Newsletter

"This volume brings together the world of toy camera photography, including the history of their use, exhaustive instructions, tips and tricks for getting the most out of Holgas and other choice cameras, advanced camera modifications, darkroom and presentation information, and resources for continued research and sharing."--Photography Blog

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: What Are Plastic Cameras?

An introduction to the history of plastic cameras

CHAPTER 2: Plastic Portfolios

Images from 30 of the most influential and talented photographers using plastic cameras from the 1960s to today

CHAPTER 3: That's So Cute!

A survey of plastic cameras

CHAPTER 4: Film Options

Film options for Holgas and other low-tech cameras

CHAPTER 5: Prepping and Shooting Your Holga

A guide to prepping and shooting a Holga camera

CHAPTER 6: Let's Get Shooting!

Learn to love your plastic camera's quirks and make artful images

CHAPTER 7: Techy Tips

Using filters, fancy films, and flash with plastic cameras

CHAPTER 8: Holga Camera Modifications

Fussing with your Holga

CHAPTER 9: Film Handling and Processing

Processing, handling, and storage of exposed film

CHAPTER 10: Prints and Pixels

Reviewing and printing your images

CHAPTER 11: Alternative Processes and Presentation

Alternative printing techniques and information about matting, framing, and presenting your photographs to the world


Plastic camera websites, publications, and suppliers


About the Author

Michelle Bates has been playing with Holgas since 1991. Since then, she has used these plastic cameras for everything from fine-art to editorial to commercial photography. Her work has won several awards and been published on numerous web magazines, included in toy cameras exhibitions worldwide, and printed in many magazines. She has had solo shows in the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles and Israel. Bates has been teaching toy camera workshops since 1998, and currently teaches at the Photographic Center Northwest, the Julia Dean Workshops in Los Angeles, and at the International Center of Photography in New York. She also guest lectures nationwide, and was a featured speaker at the Society for Photographic Education's NW regional conference in 2005. Currently, Michelle Bates is a member of the Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals of Freestyle Photographic Supply. With her history of creating toy camera imagery and activity in the national and international toy camera communities for well over a decade, Michelle Bates is a well-known and respected name in the field.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHOTOGRAPHY / Techniques / Digital (see also COMPUTERS / Digital Media / Photography)

Sample Chapters