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"20+ Years of Performance Photography" at Spoke on Vashon Island, August, 2017
Friday, August 4th, from 6-9pm at Spoke, on Vashon Island, WA

The show will feature a selection of photographs of performers from my series “20 Years of NW Performance Photography,", all from Vashon Island, including UMO, Mik Kuhlman, Kevin Joyce, Kevin Kent, Lelavision, and Gravity of Kindness (including 2017, from July 30th).

I’ll also be showing some of my fine art Holga (plastic camera) photographs.

Come, enjoy the photos and music by Jason Everett. Or stop by Spoke during the month to see the photos if you can’t make the opening.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/167786357099954

New workshop: Photographing Your Artwork - for Artists
Photographing Your Artwork: A Workshop for Artists

My new workshop, created for Artist Trust, gives artists of all types a thorough introduction to everything you need to know to document your artwork.

This course is available for artists and arts organizations - please inquire.

Tuesday, December 6th, 1-5pm at West of Lenin in Fremont, Seattle. Regstration and more info here.

February 28th, 2017 at the Blue Heron Arts Center on Vashon Island.

Art on Tap in Bellingham, WA - Nov 28-29
I'll be selling my photos as part of an art fair in Bellingham Nov 28-29, 2015. Please stop by to see the many Holga images I have matted and framed - if you've always wanted to take one home, this is your chance! Facebook event

Exhibition: "After the Fire" at West of Lenin in Seattle, June 20-July 24th, 2015 - Reception June 28th
Late June 2015 brings the return of Michelle's exhibition, "After the Fire" to Seattle. The images were made in 2000 following a fire at the historic home of friends on Vashon Island. The images evoke the beauty both of the home and its contents and the alchemy of transformation that occurred with heat and smoke and water.

The images are presented in West of Lenin's gallery space in conjunction with the show "House #30" by Mik Kuhlman, telling the story of the fire in her home and the subsequent effects on her life.

House #30 will be performed June 26-29, 2015 (PWYC preview June 25th). The exhibition will open June 20th, with a reception on Sunday, June 28th, beginning after the matinee, around 5:15-7:00.

Michelle juries "Holga and More out of the Box" exhibition 2015
I'm very excited to be jurying this exhibition, which will be shown at TCC Photo Gallery this fall and online.

See the winners at http://tccphoto.com/gallery/ and the exhibition at http://tccphoto.com/gallery/currentexhibit.html

Deadline July 10th, 2015

Upcoming talk & workshop: Nov 7-9, 2014 in Concord, MA
Next up, I'll be teaming up with the Concord Art Association to give a talk and teach a weekend workshop this fall.

Friday, Nov 7th, 6:30-8:30
Tour the World of Toy Camera Photography

Saturday, Nov 8th, 10-4
Sunday, Nov 9th, 12-4
Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity Overwhelmed by complicated, expensive cameras? Reconnect with the simple joys of photography with renowned photographer Michelle Bates as she guides you into the wonderful world of the Holga camera. Well explore image-making with a twist, using this immensely popular medium-format film camera. The class will include a slide show of a wide range of toy camera photography, the chance to play with a variety of cameras, and complete how-to information from the basics to advanced techniques and camera modification. The class will shoot film on Saturday and review results on Sunday, discussing success, challenges and more possibilities for printing and presentation. Holga 120N camera, one roll of film and overnight processing with contact sheet are included the cost of the workshop.
$285 members $335 non-members

To register please call 978-369-2578 or email education@concordart.org or online at www.concordart.org

Camera Crazy: Analog Photography panel discussion at NYPL, Nov 19th, 2014
Camera Crazy - Analog Photography
Christopher Salyers, Buzz Poole, Michelle Bates, Christopher Bonanos, Paul Kwiatkowski, Arezoo Moseni, Christian Polt, J. K. Putnam
Design and Style Series Event

Website for more info and panelist bios

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6 - 8 p.m.

New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium (Main branch on 5th Ave & 42nd St)
FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m. First come, first served.

Exploring the role of toy and novelty cameras in contemporary photography, this panel uses them as a point of entry into a broader discussion of analog photography as it exists today in the digital landscape. Featuring panelists, Christopher Salyers, Buzz Poole, Michelle Bates, Christopher Bonanos, Paul Kwiatkowski, Christian Polt, and J. K. Putnam who have deep knowledge of these types of cameras from Lomography to Polaroid and the photographers who use them. The discussion ranges from the marketing of photography to fine art and collector culture. The panel is moderated by Arezoo Moseni. flash cubes.SNOOPY-MATIC, manufactured in Hong Kong for Helm Toy Corp. Year: 1980. Film: 126. Flash: flash cubes.

Showcasing the most unusual and unique examples of functioning toy camerasretro analogs, branded novelties, new products from Japanand the photographs they create, the new book Camera Crazy explores the history and full range of this incredibly popular, and often quirky, photography niche. The book is more than a collection of plastic cameras. Its the world as seen through a childs eyes: a world of bright color, unexpected results, and exciting possibilities.

All attendees receive a free raffle ticket, as they enter the Auditorium, for a chance to win a camera from the selection of toy cameras from the authors' collection.

Holga Week - July 21-27, 2014 - photos coming soon!
Here's the scoop on Holga Week from HolgaJen - I'll be one of the judges and can't wait to see the photos!

Holga Week is Coming!

Celebrate the beloved Holga camera during "Holga Week"! Shoot as much as you can during the week of July 21-27, and challenge yourself to create some great work with your Holga products. This will be a week of shooting Holga photos, and sharing them with all of the other Holga lovers out there!*

A website is being developed where you will be able to enter a select few of your favorite photos taken during this week and be eligible to win prizes generously donated by Holga Inspire (the creators of the Holga).

There will be three great prizes up for grabs. If your photo catches the eye of one of our three judges, you will win! Simple as that.


Holga Jen (Me!)
Holga Inspire
Michelle Bates - Needs no introduction to most of you I'm sure! Michelle is the author of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity"

A Flickr group will also be set up where you can share more! I will post this information closer to the date, as well as the details on the prizes.

Are you excited???

* This week is for Holga photos taken using Holga products only. Digital is fine as long as you used a Holga product such as a Holga lens mount, or Holga smart phone lens/filter. No fake Holgas, Photoshop or any other digital manipulation will be permitted.

Michelle at Somerville Toy Camera Festival (MA)
June 6-8, 2014 is the opening weekend of the Somerville (MA) Toy Camera Festival! My photos are part of the exhibition at Nave Gallery (through the end of June) and I taught a workshop (June 7) and gave a public talk and book signing (June 8). Details here; if you're reasonably close to Somerville/Boston, please plan to come for one of my events or check out the exhibitions!

See articles about the festival in the Somerville Times and Boston Globe.

The Ins and Outs of Holgas and Toy Cameras
WORKSHOP | Saturday | June 7, noon-2:00

Join Holga Queen Michelle Bates for a two-hour workshop all about toy cameras. For those who already know the basics of the Holga, Michelle will give you an advanced tour of its operation, plus hacks and modifications you can use to expand your range. Michelle will also bring some of her collection of toy cameras to show and talk about Girl by Michelle Bates the history of the genre and what's out there now. Feel free to bring images and questions in this special opportunity for toy camera lovers!

Cost: $50, but $40 for students (with ID) and for STCF artists. Registration details will be posted on the website soon.

Michelle Bates on Toy Cameras
AUTHOR TALK AND BOOK SIGNING | Sunday | June 8, 2:00-3:00

Michelle Bates, author of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity", will bring her extensive library of toy camera images, from the earliest days to the present, and her deep knowledge of the genre, to the Somerville Toy Camera Festival. See photographs made with Dianas, Holgas and other toys, with insight into the photographers' techniques and subjects, by some of the pioneers of plasti...(more)

"20 Years of Northwest Performance Photography" exhibition
Presented at West of Lenin Gallery in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, Michelle Bates' "20 Years of Northwest Performance Photography." See images from groups such as UMO Ensemble, 14/48, theater simple, and Sandbox Radio Live; artists including Mik Kuhlman, Kevin Joyce, Kevin Kent, Lelavision, The Flaming Idiots, and many more. The exhibition continues through June and likely into July. Please contact West of Lenin for info.

On Monday, May 12th, 2014, Michelle presented a slideshow and talk showing rare images and telling stories of discovering the worlds of theater, circus and community arts in the NW, with some geeky photography techniques thrown in. 7:00 in the theater.

The exhibition showed March-July, 2014, viewable before and during performances at West of Lenin, by appointment, or by ringing the doorbell (usually during office hours).

Article about Michelle, the exhibition, and stories about some of the photos and the artists pictured, on Crosscut.com by Florangela Davila.

More info about Michelle & the talk Martha Enson, UMO Ensemble, Kevin Joyce, Kevin Kent

Michelle at Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival
Michelle was one of the official photographers for the inaugural Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, featuring exciting young circus companies from all around the US.

See photos here!

New book review on The Online Photographer
Ctein has taken timhe time to review the second edition of my book, building on his lovely review of the first edition. Check it out here. Thanks Ctein!

Glazer's Toy Camera Show & LightBox's MobileMagic openings - 10/10 & 10/12!
I'm involved with two shows coming up - check them out and wow us with your best toy camera or cell phone images!

Glazer's Toy Camera Contest - Deadline Sep 20th
This year has the themes of Color and Black & White. Submit prints that will hang at Glazer's, and have a chance to win lots of cool stuff from Seattle's best photo store! I'll be at the opening reception, talking cameras and signing my books - October 10th, 6-8pm at the Lighting Store.

LightBox Photographic Gallery's MobileMagic - Deadline Sep 30th
I juried this competition featuring cell phone photos. This one has an entry fee, but unlike most others, you get something for your money. Every entrant receives a high quality fine-art digital print of their image in the mail, and the 25 selected go on display in the beautiful gallery in Astoria, Oregon. Opening reception Oct 12th.

Michelle's online CreativeLIVE course
In September, 2013, Michelle was a part of CreativeLIVE's Photo Week - a full week of free online programming on a wide variety of photo topics. Her 90-minute class on plastic cameras is now available to purchase and watch anytime. Introduction to Toy Cameras. Check out CreativeLIVE's daily free online offerings and huge catalog of past classes as well!

Next workshop: Center for Photography at Woodstock, Sep 7-8, 2013
Michelle Bates: The Plastic Dream Machine: Holga Photography
Saturday - Sunday, September 7-8

Overwhelmed by complicated, expensive cameras? Want to reconnect with the simple joys of photography? Join Michelle Bates as she guides you into the wonderful world of the Holga camera. With this basic and immensely popular medium-format film camera, well explore image-making with a twist. Through slide shows, demos, and hands-on shooting time students will get a comprehensive look at the Plastic Fantastic in action. Complete how-to information about shooting with Holgas, from the basics to advanced techniques, as well as camera modifications will be covered. By shooting film on Saturday and reviewing results on Sunday, we will explore the challenges and successes of the Holga, along with possibilities for printing and presentation. This workshop is open to all levels of photographer.

Michelle Bates has been using Holga cameras since 1991, and is internationally known for her images and teaching about plastic cameras. Her book, Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity is the ultimate guide to the genre. She is a member of Freestyle Photographic Supplies' Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals and a popular speaker at photography centers and events. www.michellebates.net

Please bring: A Holga camera. If you do not have one, they will be available for purchase the day of class.
Class limit: 10
Tuition: $340 / CPW members: $310
Lab Fee: $25

CPW website

Michelle's Holga images in University of Washington's Viewpoint Magazine
These portraits portray distinguished alumni of UW who are part of its diverse community.

[View entire issue online]

Michelle on Art Photo Index
Rixon Reed, of Photo-Eye, has created a new online index of top-notch photographers from around the world, Art Photo Index. I'm honored to be included, with my "Urban Oases" portfolio. Spend some time on the site and enjoy some of the best photography out there today.

Michelle's talks at TEDxRainier 2011 & 2012
In November 2011, Michelle spoke about her history with plastic cameras at Seattle's TEDxRainier, in front of 700+ people. The talk is now available online. Enjoy this 6 minute presentation about her journey into photography, and get inspired by Holga images by several amazing photographers. Michelle's TEDxRainier talk

For the 2012 TEDxRainier event, Michelle once again spoke, as part of the New Old Time Chautauqua's performance, featuring the Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band/Orchestra, live performances, images from the group's 30+-year history, and more.

Articles: Lomographic Society, Fotoritim, Fraction, American Photo magazine, SPE's "exposure", Holgablog
Recent publications:

Lomographic Society's online magazine featured an interview with me and a nice selection of photos in June, 2012.

Fotoritim, a Turkish online magazine features my work and an interview.

I'm included in the 3rd Anniversary issue of Fraction Magazine

See my feature article, with excerpts of "Plastic Cameras" in American Photo magazine's March/April 2011 issue, with 10 photographs from the book!"

The Society for Photographic Education's national journal, "exposure" includes a wonderful article about me in the Spring 2011 issue. "Taming the Badly Behaved Camera: Michelle Bates and the Holga" covers my career and includes 7 of my images.

Holgablog.com honored me as Photographer of the Month in March 2011 with a nice long interview and a collection of photos.

NY events - Holga 30th Anniversary Exhibition through Sep 21st
Michelle Bates artist talk: Thursday, September 6th, 7:00

Holga 30th Anniversary Exhibition opening: Friday, September 7th, 6-9


Timeless: Michelle Bates, Susan Bowen, Michael Kenna, Harvey Stein, Thomas Michael Alleman.


Upcoming workshops:
Opportunities to spend some time with me learning about toy cameras... If I won't be in your town, consider traveling to one of these destinations, or get in touch with any questions.

Project Basho, Philadelphia: Nov 3-4, 2012


Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina - Aug 26-Sep 1, 2012
1/2 off deal available for K-12 and university educators, two weeks before the workshop begins is space is available.

Center for Alternative Photography, New York, NY: Public lecture, Thursday, September 6th, workshop, Sep 8-9

Melbourne, Sydney, and other cities in Australia: probably Feb 2013

More info coming soon for all events.

Holga Inspire exhibition in Chicago
Next stop:
Chicago Photo Center during Filter Photo Festival and Chicago Artists Month, Oct 12-28

The previous stops:
Photobooth in San Francisco, from August 30-Sep 27th, 2012.

The exhibition, sponsored by Holga Ltd, the makers of the Holga, includes photos by me, David Burnett, Teru Kuwayama, Pauline St Denis, Susan Bowen, Annu Matthew, Tammy Cromer Campbell, Rebecca Tolk, Harvey Stein, and Taiju Fubuki. The Photobooth show also features guest photographer Christine Zona

Holga Inspire runs at Open Shutter Gallery in Durango, CO from Friday, July 6th through August 6th.

The Holga Inspire exhibition, opens on Thursday, March 8th, 6-8pm in conjunction with the Krappy Kamera show at Soho Photo in NY.

The exhibition, sponsored by Holga Ltd, the makers of the Holga, includes photos by me, David Burnett, Teru Kuwayama, Pauline St Denis, Susan Bowen, Annu Matthew, Tammy Cromer Campbell, Rebecca Tolk, Harvey Stein, and Taiju Fubuki.

I have some new images up that weren't part of my solo exhibition at that space this time last year.

The show is up March 7-31, 2012.
Soho Photo 15 White St, New York

Fotoritim - Turkish Photo Magazine feature
See an interview with Michelle and several photos on this gorgeous online photo magazine from Turkey (article in English & Turkish). Michelle's article

Print sale December 2011 - Fraction Magazine
In May 2011, I was featured in Fraction Magazine. Each month, many talented photographers' work is included.

For the holidays, Fraction has created a print sale with low-priced prints from many of us. My image, "Raritan Canal" is offered for $100 as an 8" fiber-based silver gelatin print.

There are just a few weeks to the sale, so take a look now.

Fall events: SPE NW Conference, Glazer's book signing & TEDxRainier in Seattle
In November, I have two NW presentations & a book signing.

Nov 5 & 6th is the Society for Photographic Education's NW Regional conference in Spokane, WA. I'll be speaking on ?Toy Cameras in a High-Tech World? on Saturday at 10:30am.

November 10th is the closing party for Glazer's Camera's annual Holga competition. I'll be there signing books and hanging out - it's 6-8pm.

November 12th is TEDxRainier, Seattle's largest TEDx event, at Kane Hall at the University of Washington. I am part of a pretty incredible lineup of speakers on a wide range of topics, and will be talking about low-tech cameras and creativity.

Portfolio in Fraction Magazine
I'm proud to be included in the 3rd Anniversary issue of Fraction Magazine, online now with portfolios by Clay Lipsky, Daniel George, Meredith Miller, Rylan Steele, and Simon Roberts, plus a review of "Publish Your Photography Book" by Mary Virginia Swanson and Darius Himes.

Upcoming Workshops

More details on my events page.

Recently past:

San Francisco: Rayko Photo - April 23-24, 2011
Tucson: Photographic Works, in conjunction with the Curious Camera show - April 30-May 1, 2011
Seattle: Photographic Center Northwest - Jun 4-5, 2011

Exhibition at Rayko Photo in SF through Apr 30 - book signing Apr 23
Urban Oases series at Rayko Photo, San Francisco
March 4th-April 30th, 2011
I'm showing 9 images from my Urban Oases series as one of the featured artists at Rayko Photo in conjunction with their Plastic Camera Show, opening March 4th. Runs March 4th-April 30th. I'll be giving a workshop April 23-24, with a book signing and/or talk that weekend as well.
428 Third Street, San Francisco (down the street from SFMOMA)

Book signing: Saturday, April 23rd, 5:30-6:30pm

Recent exhibitions:

"20 Years of Toying with Creativity" at Soho Photo Gallery, NYC
March 1st-April 2, opening March 1st, 6-8pm
Gallery talk Sunday, March 6th, 6pm
For the first time, Soho Photo Gallery is featuring one artist to have a solo exhibition in conjunction with the Krappy Kamera Competition - the oldest and largest of the toy camera shows. I will have the entire upstairs gallery (formerly home of the Salon des Refuses) and will feature about 30 photographs from throughout the last 20 years, with unseen images, old favorites, stories about the images and my journey with Holga. Please join me at the opening on Tuesday, March 1st, 6-8pm, and I'll be giving a gallery talk & book signing on Sunday, March 6th, at 6:00. March 1-April 2, 2011. 15 White St, New York, NY

Holga Inspire at The Icon, Los Angeles
Imagery by the 10 Holga Inspire photographers (a group created by Holga Ltd, the makers of the Holga camera) will be showing in Los Angeles from March 5-31. Opening March 5th, 6-9 (won't be there either). | www.holgainspire.com - 5450 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

More info

Feature article on "Plastic Cameras" in American Photo magazine
Pick up a copy of the March/April 2011 American Photo magazine and get a taste of the content of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity."
It features a condensed version of some of the how-to information and photos by Jennifer Shaw, Anne Arden McDonald, Pauline St Denis, Franco Salmoiraghi, David Burnett, Teru Kuwayama, Richard Ross, Ted Orland, Louviere + Vanessa, and Thomas Michael Alleman!

Article in the Society for Photographic Education's "exposure"
The Spring 2011 issue of the Society for Photographic Education's national journal, exposure includes a lovely article about me, "Taming the Badly Behaved Camera: Michelle Bates and the Holga."

Download PDF of article here.

Photographer of the Month on Holgablog.com - March 2011
Michelle Bates is Photographer of the Month on Holgablog.com!

Enjoy a long interview covering my history with the Holga, and a selection of classic and unseen images.

"Plastic Cameras" 2nd Edition book release events
The second edition of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity" is out! To celebrate, join me:

Seattle: Ada's Technical Books January Author of the Month
Explore my book and others I recommend all month, and join me for a talk on Sunday, January 23rd at 4:00.

More info on the book at toyingwithcreativity.com and more info on all these events here.

Society for Photographic Education's NW regional conference at Newspace Photo, Nov 5-7. I'll be on a panel Sat morning and signing books afterward, and around for the weekend.

-Reading and slide show at Elliott Bay Book Co on Saturday, Nov 13th, 2pm
-Reception to follow, Sat Nov 13th, 4-6 at Photographic Center NW

New Orleans:
-Book signing during PhotoNOLA on Friday, Dec 3rd from 5-7pm (along with contributors Slyvia Plachy, Jennifer Shaw, Louviere + Vanessa, Gordon Stettinius, and, after his lecture, Michael Kenna), and workshop Dec 5-6.

New York:
-Book release party: Thursday, October 28th, 6-8 pm at Soho Photo Gallery with many of the book contributors.

-Photo Plus Expo:
-Book signing:
Freestyle Photographic Supply/FS Distribution (booth #274) Friday, Oct 29th at 2:00.
-Seminar: "Plastic Cameras?Going Low Tech for Fine Art and Profit" Sat, Oct 30th, 1:15-3:15 (registrati...(more)

University of Portland solo exhibition - closing reception 9/23
On the Road

August 23-September 23, 2010
University of Portland Buckley Center Gallery

Closing Reception: Thursday, Sep 23rd, 5-7pm

Gallery open M-F, 8:30 am-8:00 pm, Sat 8:30-4.

29 images in two full series:
-Color & B&W photos from Thailand & Nepal
-Urban Oases, from cities around the US

Plastic Camera shows fall 2011
Fall 2011 group toy camera shows I'm part of:

"Low Tech/High Art"
The Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs, CO
October 28-Dec 31, 2011

"Holga Inspire"
The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO
Sep 30, 2011-Jan 14, 2012

Recently past:

"Toyed With" at Open Shutter Gallery in Durango, CO.
I'm the juror for this one!
Show dates: August 27-October 1, 2011.

Articles, Interviews, & Videos - Online interview 800ISO blog & SPE NW panel

800ISO Blog Interview

The wonderful Spanish photo blog 800ISO published an interview that explores some wonderful territory. Check it out, and enjoy the rest of the site as well. [Interview]

Northwest Territory: Women in Photography

Panel discussion with me, Holly Andres, Toni Greaves, Lauren Henkin, Heidi Kirkpatrick, Dianne Kornberg, Ann Ploeger, Rebekah Rocha and Grace Weston, as part of the Society for Photographic Education's Northwest Regional conference, at Newspace Photo, Portland, OR, November 2010. Moderated by Julia Dolan, of the Portland Art Museum.

Inside Analog Photo

Scott Sheppard interviewed me for Inside Analog Photo - August 2010. A great 1/2 hour discussion of Holgas, photography and creativity!

Photo Media Magazine

Photo Media Magazine, the Northwest's photo magazine, has a feature portfolio of my work; 6 images and a lovely article on a two-page spread. I've loved this publication since I've been in Seattle, and it's very exciting to be featured in its pages!

-Shutterbug Magazine

Michelle's website is featured in the November 2009 Shutterbug's Web Profiles section (pg 92) by Joe Farace

-"Just one word: plastics. Photographer captivated by simple Holga"

Arizona Daily Star, June 11, 2009
Michelle Bates is the queen of the plastic camera.
Hey, she wrote the book. Literally.
"Toying Around With Plasti...(more)

Billboards, Banner & Photo Media Magazine Spread!
My images have been covering a lot of ground lately - BIG billboards and a huge banner, and a 2-page magazine spread printed many tens of thousands of times - very exciting!

Photo Media Magazine, the Northwest's photo magazine, has a feature portfolio of my work; 6 images and a lovely article on a two-page spread. I've loved this publication since I've been in Seattle, and it's very exciting to be featured in its pages!

Moisture Festival - Seattle's vaudeville/variete/comedy/burlesque festival has spread all over Seattle, with performances in 5 venues, and now its ads are on buses around town, AND *4* billboards as well! They feature 2 of my photographs, and images by the other two official photographers (John Cornicello & Mark Gardiner).

In other BIG news, in December, The New Victory Theater in New York featured my photographs of the Flaming Idiots on a 15 feet high(!) banner that stretched 60 feet down 42nd St in Times Square. Read more about it in my blog and see more images.

42nd St, near 8th Avenue, New York

Moisture Festival Billboard, Seattle: center and left images (Trixie Little & Evie Hate Monkey, Godfrey Daniels with Simon Neale) are mine

Click on the spread to read the article on Photo Media's website

Photos from Moisture Festival and photo book
Moisture Festival is fantastic! Four weeks of performers from all over the world descending on Seattle, entertaining us with various forms of madness! It's the biggest event of its kind in the world, and its reputation has spread throughout the vaudeville, circus, and variete communities. Get a taste with a selection of my photos (more coming...), and get more info, and sign up for the email list, at the Moisture Festival website.

In fall 2009, the three Moisture Festival photographers (myself, John Cornicello & Mark Gardiner) pulled together an awesome selection of photographs into the Moisture Festival book: Comedy/Variete at the Moisture Festival, Seattle, 2005-2009.

You can preview it online and purchase copies at Moisture Festival shows.

Winter exhibitions - Krappy Kamera (NY), Newspace Carnival (OR), Rayko (SF)
Carnival at Newspace Photo, Portland, OR
Feb 5-28, 2010. I have one photo in this group show at a great gallery/school/rental darkroom in the fabulous Portland, OR! Opens Friday, March 5th, 2010

Krappy Kamera Competition at Soho Photo in New York
March 5-April 3, 2010. The biggest and baddest of the toy camera shows, this one is a blast to be part of! Opens Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010. I'll be there for the opening!

Rayko Photo International Juried Plastic Camera Show Another of the great low-tech shows, at another of my favorite photo centers, this one in San Francisco. Feb 26-April 17, opening Friday, Feb 26th, 6-8 pm.

Holga Inspire moves from TC Photo Gallery in Longview Texas, to Umbrella Arts in New York, opening December 9th, through January 16th.

Winter Workshops: Seattle, Portland, SPE
Training Your Toy Camera - a four-week project class at Photographic Center Northwest
Tuesdays, 6-9 pm, January 26-Feb 16

Toying with Creativity: Plastic Cameras at Newspace Photo
Sat & Sun, January 23 & 24, 10-5

SPE National Conference in Philadelphia
Toying with Creativity: The joys & Frustrations of Plastic Cameras
Industry Seminar, Thursday March 4th, 10:30-11:45, sponsored by Freestyle Photographic Supply
conference website

Vote on the cover of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity"'s second edition
Focal Press, my publisher, is having some fun with the design of the second edition. I came up with a bunch of image and color combinations, they played around with them and chose two favorites. Now you get to choose the winner! You can vote on your favorite, and also enter to win a copy of the book when it's released this fall. Focal Press cover contest.

Fall exhibitions - NY Holga Inspire through Jan 16, Moisture Festival show, Benham closing party
Several new exhibitions have popped up for me for the rest of the fall; two in Seattle and one in New York!

Moisture Festival in Photos
Opened Wednesday, November 25th, at Hale's Brewery in Seattle is an exhibition of the best of Moisture Festival photographs from the three official photographers: myself, John Cornicello and Mark Gardiner, from 2005-2009. This was also the debut of the book of images from all these years. Preview the book here | Moisture Festival website

Holga Inspire moves from TC Photo Gallery in Longview Texas, to Umbrella Arts in New York, opening December 9th, through January 16th.

Benham Gallery, Seattle
My show is now down at Benham, but I have a few images from this show, and many other images as part of their closing sale - 20% off matted and framed prints. Call the gallery for hours this week, and come by for the gallery-closing party on Sunday, Dec 20th, 4-8 pm.

My new series of images from Israel is up at Benham Gallery in Seattle through December 12th. This is part of Benham's last exhibition before it closes its doors and morphs into Benham Fine Art.

Michelle in Shutterbug Magazine
Michelle's website is featured in the November 2009 Shutterbug's Web Profiles section (pg 92) by Joe Farace:


"This month's Reader's Homepage belongs to Michelle Bates, the fairy godmother of the Holga who wrote the definitive book on the subject, Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity. If you don't already have a copy of this marvelous book, the first thing you should do when arriving at the site should be to click on its link and buy a copy. Clicking on the large Holga photograph on the splash page takes you to a gallery that contains collections of both Holga and "Other Series" images made with "real" cameras. The "Quirky Holga" collection is filled with the kind of offbeat images that almost define the way most people see the Holga - as a fun house camera - but her monochrome images (don't miss "Fried Doughboys") amp up the fun so much it will make you smile and run out and buy a Holga today.

The "Graphics" collection shows the other side of Holga, the fine art side, with images that are subtle ("Monument, Thailand") and complex (Javitz Center roof") and demonstrate that it's not the tool but the artist who makes the image. In "Urban Oases" Bates takes that concept a bit further with mellifluous photographs that blend nature and nurture to create images that are abstract and realistic at the same time. I loved all the photographs in "Nature Holga," especially "Beach Grass, NJ" that has a definite Solaris (Russian version) feel to it while others have the wistful feel of old glass-plate photographs. The funky and clever site design is by skyhand design (www.skyhand.com)."

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity" second edition
Call for photographs, books, and information here:


Holga exhibitions - enter now!
Once again, there are several juried toy camera shows coming up:

Krappy Kamera XII - deadline December 30th.

Rayko Photo's 3rd Annual Plastic Camera Show, deadline January 5th.

Passed - check out the winners online for most of these:

Holgapalooza, by toycamera.com, deadline September 25th. I'm one of the jurors for this one! http://www.holgapalooza.com/

Glazer's Camera Holga Contest in Seattle, deadline August 25th

Holgamods.com has a Holga contest titled "Rust", deadline September 1st.

Photomedia Center Holga Show 3.0 - deadline November 7th

Upcoming Workshops & Talks Schedule
Lots of fun stuff coming up for this spring and summer:

-Talk, panel & workshop at the f295 Symposium in Pittsburgh, May 28-31, 2009

-Two-week workshop at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, August 9-21, 2009

More info on all of these on my events page.

I'm always working on planning other talks, classes and trips, and I'm open to suggestions and invitations!

Spring Group Exhibitions: Bangkok, Berlin, Tucson, Penland
I have prints in several shows all over the place this spring. More details as I have them.

-Bangkok, Thailand
Holga Limited, the company that makes the Holga, will be hosting an exhibition at Photo Imaging Expo 2009 at Siam Paragon Department Store in Bangkok from April 1 to April 5, 2009. Check out Holga's new website: Holga Inspire.

-Penland, NC:
"Range of Possibilities," Penland School of Crafts Faculty Exhibition, Penland Gallery, Faculty Exhibition for Summer 2009 teachers, March 17-May 10, opening March 20th.

-Berlin, Germany:
Holga Exhibition at Atelier Freier Fotographen, April, 2009, www.aff-berlin.com

-Tucson, AZ:
Curious Cameras at ArtsEye Gallery, April 24-July 19, 2009. Opening reception April 25, 6-9 pm.

Moisture Festival in full swing!
I'm one of the three photographers for the Moisture Festival, a fabulous event in Seattle featuring gobs of great vaudeville, variete, comedy, aerial, juggling, and more! acts. Through April 5th, 2009 at Hale's Palladium in Fremont/Ballard.
Details and tickets (and my photos!)
Feature on the Seattle Channel's Art Zone.

Holga Inspire website launched!
Super exciting news in the world of Holga this month: Holga Limited, the company that is the source for our beloved Holgas, has launched a website, Holga Inspire, to bring Holga lovers worldwide together.

The site features the work of several photographers, resources, news, and will fill out more soon with info about the various cameras and more.

Holga Limited is gearing up to do more outreach with photographers, photo organizations, schools and exhibitions, so keep your eyes on the site! This month, they're a sponsor of the Krappy Kamera Competition at Soho Photo in New York. See my blog for stories about meeting Holga Limited's photographer outreach goddess, Christine So.

Talk & Workshop at B&H Photo in New York: January 21st
January 21st, 2009

10-12 am: Free talk
1-5 pm: Workshop

On January 21st, I'll be giving a free talk on the plastic cameras scene, with lots of images from fantastic photographers and info on making your own.
Reserve a space for the talk here: B&H Event Space info.
Register for the workshop here:Workshop registration.

The full blurb:
Toy cameras fall into the category of simple, inexpensive film based cameras made almost entirely out of plastic, even including the optics! However, don't be mislead by the low-tech "cheap" approach to this kind of photo gear; they are capable of taking amazing and unique images in an almost accidental fashion.

The Event Space is pleased to have photographer Michelle Bates, who is author of the book "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity", share her expertise on "Toy Camera" creativity. Michelle will delve into this esoteric style by showing work of photographers shooting with Holgas, Dianas, and other toy cameras, with lots of images for inspiration! If you're interested in the world of plastic cameras, this will be a great introduction. See the latest in new Holga models and accessories as well as Michelle's vision and work. After the lecture, Michelle will be signing copies of her book which will be available.

Like all of the Event Space programs, Michelle's morning session is being offered free of charge. However, for those of you wishing to get deeper into the art of toy camera image making, Michelle will be leading a more in depth workshop in the afternoon. This portion of the workshop requires a fee to attend and more information can be found by visiting Michelle's website at www.michellebates.net

The workshop is $75, and includes free Fuji 120 Film (thanks Fuji!) and Fuji Instant Film for use during the workshop, and a 20% discount on "Plastic Cameras: T...(more)

Exhibition at Camera Club of New York - Jan 16-20, 2009
F295: 21st Century Photography Exhibition at Camera Club of New York!

F295 is pleased to announce that the Camera Club of New York will be hosting an exhibition entitled F295: 21st Century Photography from January 16 ? 20? 2009. Opening reception: January 17th, 7-9pm.

This show coincides with the F295 Seminar at B&H Photo on January 18 and features work from a selection of artists who have been involved with the various F295 events over the past 2 1/2 years.

Presently confirmed artists include:
Jo Babcock
Craig Barber
Michelle Bates
Gabriel Biderman
Laura Blacklow
David George Brommer
Martha Casanave
Jill Enfield
Dan Estabrook
Jesseca Ferguson
Alida Fish
Joy Goldkind
Robert Hirsch
Kerik Kouklis
Scott McMahon
France Scully Osterman
Mark Osterman
Tom Persinger
Jerry Spagnoli
Keith Taylor


Photo Center NW book party 12/12
On Friday, December 12th, Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle will be having a photo shindig celebrating several fun events.
It's the release of their new book, featuring work by students and faculty, which I have two images in. There will also be an exhibition and sale of small prints from the book (8" x 10").
Finally, a print swap (sign up in advance), and the opening of the Member's Exhibition. 6-9 pm.

Holga meet-up in Seattle Sunday, 11/23
Hey, come on down to Benham Gallery!
This Friday night is the opening of an exhibition of three photographers, including Rosanna Salonia & Matthew Yates, who are big Holga fans! Come on down for the party on Friday, and on Sunday afternoon is more fun:
At 1:00, there will be a gallery talk with Rosanna, Matt & Dave Armentor.
At 2:00 is the Holga Shmooze with me, Rosanna & Matt! We'll be collecting images via email (check the Benham blog for more details), or you can bring prints along.
See Benham's Blog for more info and track Rosanna & Matt's travels to Seattle!

Current exhibitions: Seattle
I've got work up in two places in Seattle starting this month.

First, two series of work at Office Nomads, a coworking space on Capitol Hill. The "After the Fire" series is up for the first time in a few years; these are intense and beautiful images of a Vashon home after it burned in 2000. I also have up some Holga nature images. The space is open M-F, 8:30-6; check it out.

At the Convention Center, I have an image in their "Only in Washington" show, which will be up through May.

In addition, I have an image in the show: "From the Playa to City Parks?BRAF Paves the Way" at the McKinley Art Gallery in Reno, from October 23-December 11, 2008.

Hope you can check them out!

f/295 Symposium - NY in Jan & Pittsburgh in May
I've been invited to give a presentation at the f/295 Symposium for 21st Century Photography (last years was "An Examination of Lensless, Alternative, and Adaptive Photographic Processes; they're still working on the name thing...). It's happening way off in May 2009 in Pittsburgh. I'll also be teaching a one-day workshop.

On January 18th, 2009, several of the symposium presenters will be holding a panel discussion at B&H Photo in New York City. I'll be there!

This looks like a great event; I tried to fit it into my schedule this year, but just couldn't make it. The presentations are all on one day, and only one at a time, so everyone gets to see them all, then there are two days of workshops. Also portfolio walk, keynote speakers, gallery openings, panel discussions, shmoozing, etc. Can't wait!

Michelle on the radio! KUOW's Sound Focus
I was interviewed for KUOW's fantastic arts program, Sound Focus, on June 12th, 2008. It's a great 9-minute interview about Holgas, how I came to love them, and the place low-tech photography and art have in people's lives.

If you missed it, it's available here: Listen to the interview
or online: Sound Focus.
To skip to my bit, it's at minute 43:30.

Their blurb:
At 2:50 p.m. ? The Art of the Holga
A professional digital camera can cost you over five thousand dollars. A plastic toy camera called a Holga will run you about twenty five bucks. At that price, you may not expect the Holga to do much. But local photographer Michelle Bates has staked a good part of her career on this mass market Chinese gadget. She writes about the Holga and shares some of her Holga photos in her book, Plastic Cameras, Toying with Creativity.

*This was rebroadcast on August 4th, 2008 as well.

Burning Man Exhibition in Marin Co, CA through Aug 3rd
I'm part of a unique photography exhibition called "21 Days of Black Rock City," which opens on June 1st, 2008, from 1-5:30 pm at the Marin French Cheese Factory in Petaluma, California.

The exhibition is centered around a time-lapse series of images of the building of Black Rock City, better known as the Burning Man festival, in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

In addition to the video are large format prints (up to 40" x 60") by 9 photographers made at Burning Man over several years. We were all part of a residency program to make and mount the prints in Berkeley earlier this year.

The show is up until August 3rd (with somewhat limited hours, generally Sat-Sun 1-5:30 - check the website) in a spectacular setting - worth the trip from San Francisco! I'll be there for the opening.


Toy Cameras in the News
A few great toy camera articles have popped up recently around the world with my photos :-)!

The Brooklyn Rail: Seeking Imperfection

The Independent in London: The cult of Holga: The sixties' camera makes a comeback

And, see a video of me talking about toy cameras, made at the SPE conference in Denver by Calumet Photographic.

Michelle wins the Krappy Kamera First Prize! Up through March 29th
Just before the opening party for Rayko Photo's Plastic Camera exhibition in San Francisco, I received a call informing me that I won FIRST PLACE in Soho Photo's Krappy Kamera Competition. The image is a brand new one, from my trip to Nepal.
The opening is March 4th, in NYC.
I'll be speaking at Soho Photo on Thursday, March 6th, at 7pm. www.krappykamera.com

Monkey, Pashupatinath, Nepal, November 2007

Toy Camera Exhibitions Galore!
Five toy camera exhibitions are in the works around the US for early 2008. Come see the shows if you're in town, or check some of them out online!

"Unrefined Light: Image Making with Plastic Cameras and Their Friends" at the Foundry Arts Center in St Charles, MO.
**I'm the juror for this one!**
Exhibition: March 28-May 9, 2008.
Opening: March 28th, 6-8pm
Information & entry form

New Orleans Photo Alliance
Juror: Susan Burnstine
Dates: Feb 16th-April 1, 2008
Workshop: I'll be teaching there May 17 & 18 (after the exhibition, unfortunately).
See the show online

"Krappy Kamera X" at Soho Photo in New York.
Juror: Jill Enfield
Dates: March 4-29, 2008
Opening: Tuesday, March 4th, 6-8pm
Talk: I'm speaking on Thursday, March 6th, 7pm
See the show online

"National Juried Plastic Camera Exhibition" at Rayko Photo in San Francisco.
Dates: Jan 8th - Feb 9th, 2008
Opening: Tuesday, Jan 8th, 6-8pm (I was there for the opening, and am teaching a workshop there Feb 9th & 12th)

"Holga Show 2.0" at Photomedia Center. Up now!

Photography Biennial at Bellingham's Whatcom Museum
From December 1, 2007 through April 27th, 2008, the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA (about an hour north of Seattle) will be showing its "Photography Biennial: 9 Photographers to Watch from the Pacific Northwest." My Holga work is featured, with 26 images from 3 series of work.

The main museum and the space where this show is are fabulous! There are 9 full bodies of work in a space that seems both roomy and intimate. See some images here. More to come!

The opening to the exhibition was snowed out in a rare NW snowstorm. We're having a panel discussion with reception on March 1st, 2008.

And, I'm teaching a workshop through the museum on Satruday, April 26th.

Bid on a bit of Plastic Camera heaven!
Strangercrombie, the annual auction of Seattle's weekly paper, The Stranger, has me up for auction! The item is called "Cheap Shot" and includes a slot in my upcoming workshop at the Photographic Center Northwest (Feb 23 & Mar 1), a copy of my book, and a cute plastic camera! All the $ go to a good cause, and I'll sign the book for ya! bid me up!!! Bidding ends December 14th! Update - Final bid was $152.50!

Talk at Powell's Books in Portland, OR - Nov 30th
This event brings the photo and book worlds together, as I talk about toy cameras and my book at the venerable Powell's Books in Portland. The talk is at 7:30 pm at the main Burnside store.

This was a great event! Read all about it in my blog.

Exhibition opening at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA, 12/1 & talk, 12/2
From December 1, 2007 through April 2008, the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA (about an hour north of Seattle) will be showing its photography biennial, "9 Photographers to Watch from the Pacific Northwest." My Holga work will be featured, with 26 images from 3 series of work.
The opening is Saturday, December 1st, from 7:30-9pm.
I'll be giving an informal mini-workshop/talk on Sunday, December 2nd at 1:00 in Bellingham as well.
Location: Whatcom Educational Credit Union Education Center, 511 E. Holly. Free!

Traveling in Asia
From October 30th to November 26th, I'll be traveling in Nepal and Thailand.
In Nepal, I'll be running around on a trip led by David Robbins. To contact me during this time, please email michelle@michellebates.net and be patient. I'll check email when possible.
Stories & photos when I return!

Exhibition at Photographic Center Northwest Nov 2-28, 2007
Cheap Shot
Plastic Cameras: The Low Tech of High Art
opens November 2nd at the Photographic Center NW in Seattle (12th & Marion). It's a great group of photographers:
Michelle Bates
Gordon Stettinius
Shannon Welles
Rosanna Salonia
Jennifer Shaw
Susan Burnstine
Check out the Seattle PI's review!

Feature Article & audio interview on LensCulture.com
At Photolucida, this April, in Portland, OR, I met Jim Casper, who runs the fabulous photography website, Lens Culture. He interviewed me, got a copy of the book, and now I'm featured on the site, complete with 24 images and the audio interview! Check it out at Lensculture.com or Lensculture.com/mbates.html

Book signing at Photo Plus, NY - Oct 18th
I'll be signing books at Photo Plus Expo at the Javitz Center in New York on Thursday, October 18th at 2:30 pm. I'll be at Freestyle Photographic's booth, but for this show, the sign will say "FS Distribution" with a banner declaring "It's All About Black and White." Booth #1927. Come on by!

Workshops in Los Angeles & New York this fall
I've just organized teaching my plastic camera workshop for the Julia Dean Workshops in Los Angeles on September 8th & 9th, and at the International Center of Photography in New York in October (a 2-weekend workshop, October 13-14 & 20-21). More workshops are in the works in Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, St Louis, and Colorado; keep tuned!

Michelle on Photo Talk Radio
I was guest on this photo radio show in July. The show is available online; listen to Segment 3. Photo Talk Radio

Photographic Center NW auction Sat September 29th
I'm going to be up on stage, working hard to help the Photo Center sell lots of art! I'll be reading off the names of the photographs and artists, and then handing it over to the auctioneer to sell them to you.
There are lots of great photos up for grabs; they're viewable online or at the the Photo Center's gallery.
The night also is the PhotoVision Award, going to Keith Carter, who will be there.

Lecture at SF Camerawork September 27th
In September, I'll be going to the fabulous city of San Francisco to give a talk on toy cameras. I'll be showing some of my images, as well as those of many of the contributors to my book. I'll talk about the history of the genre, technical tips on how to work with them, and general thoughts on using toys to get into the joy of photography. My last lecture, at the Center for Creative Photography in LA, was a huge success, and I hope to have another full house this time. This will be informative and interesting for all levels of photographer. Thursday, September 27th at 6:00pm. 657 Mission St, 2nd Floor.

"Toying with Creativity" exhibition opens in Los Angeles Feb 22nd, 2007
Freestyle Photographic's Creative Center for Photography brings Michelle and her Holga images to Hollywood for a special solo exhibition. Opening February 22nd, from 6-8 pm, the show features two series of Bates' work, and will hang through April 22nd. Bates will give a talk on plastic & toy camera photography on Saturday, Feb 24th at the gallery, 5124 Sunset Blvd. More info at Freestyle's website

Michelle Bates on cover of Freestyle Catalog!
Michelle is a member of Freestyle Photographic Supply's Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals. Each quarter, a board member is featured on the cover of Freestyle's catalog, which goes out to over 70,000 people. In celebration of the release of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity," Michelle is this issue's cover girl! The photograph was taken by Jennifer Loomis, who is herself a brand new member of Freestyle's board.

"Plastic Cameras" Seattle book party 10/21/06
Join us to celebrate the publication of "Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity" at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle (900 12th Ave, at Marion), Saturday, October 21st, 6-9pm. Signed copies of the book will be for sale.


All images © Michelle Bates Photography.
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