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PRC Nights: Toy Cameras

    IN-PERSON September 27th, 6:30-8:30pm
    Washington Street Gallery, 321 Washington Street, Somerville
    Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

    Hosted by Somerville Toy Camera Festival Organizer, Bruce Myren

    Featuring Somerville Toy Camera Festival exhibitors:
    Jennifer Erbe, Marky Kauffmann, Kerrie Kemperman, and Mary Kocol

    Since 2013, the Somerville Toy Camera Festival has celebrated the quirky and creative results that can happen when photographers are forced to loosen their controls, submit to the light and embrace the accidental. Each year the Festival brings together a wide range of toy camera photography by US and international artists in simultaneous shows at galleries throughout the city, and featured related programming including artist talks/panel discussions, workshops, social events, and a darkroom day. We are thrilled to partner with the Washington Street Gallery and the Somerville Toy Camera Festival to present this PRC Nights featuring Festival exhibitors Jennifer Erbe, Marky Kauffmann, Kerrie Kemperman, and Mary Kocol.

    Jennifer Erbe is a photographer and mixed media artist. She has a BS in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon, and learned darkroom photography at the Art Institute of Boston and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, graduating in 2002. Erbe’s background in both science and art enables her to see the world through a dual perspective. She is attracted to both natural and industrial areas, and frequently explores the juxtaposition of city and nature in her work. Of her work Erbe says, “Mostly I make photographs because I am curious. I ask a lot of questions when walking around – How would this look up close? How do these things go together? My camera serves as my collaborator, as we see the world through a variety of filters, both tangible and intangible. The translation my camera makes of the world helps me to better understand it.” Erbe has recently worked as an Education Volunteer and Teacher Naturalist at Joppa Flats Education Center (Mass Audubon), and she volunteers as a citizen scientist with Earthwise Aware.

    Marky Kauffmann, Comet Tails, 2015, archival pigment print from bleached, scanned gelatin silver print

    Marky Kauffmann is a graduate of Boston University and the New England School of Photography. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2017 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Photography. In 2021 and 2022, the international online gallery,, chose her as one of their Hot 100 Photographers. In 2019, Kauffmann’s work was selected to be on the New England Regional Photoville’s The Fence. In 2016 and 2017, Kauffmann was chosen as a Top 200 Critical Mass Finalist. Most recently, she garnered Honorable Mentions in the 20th Edition Julia Margaret Cameron Worldwide Gala Awards in four categories – Digital Manipulation/Collage, Landscape/Seascape, Nature and Alternative Processes.

    Kauffmann utilizes traditional darkroom techniques, alternative processes, and digital technologies to create her unique images. The work she will be presenting is from the series, Prayer Pieces, made for family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. Her darkroom process using potassium ferricyanide and bleach painted on black and white gelatin silver paper, eats away the silver metal. Kauffmann sees a similarity between this technique and cancer cells destroying healthy cells in the body.

    Kerrie Kemperman, Darcy and Ryan Contemplate the Universe, 2022, solargraph made with a handmade tin-can pinhole camera

    Kerrie Kemperman has a BA in English and Art from Alma College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She got her first camera as a child and used it to document trips with her parents to the Upper Peninsula, as well as her barn cats and other aspects of her young life on a family farm in Michigan. In college, she explored b/w photography, but it took another 20+ years for her to discover her love for the pinhole camera, and she also experiments with toy and vintage cameras, cyanotypes, and other alternative processes. Her work has been included in shows at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts; The Art Center (Dover, NH); and in the Somerville Toy Camera Festival, among others. She is a freelance book designer, editor, and writer. Of her work she says, “I am drawn to the natural world, to ignored or forgotten spaces both rural and urban, and to the objects we leave behind or scatter around us… Some of my creative choices are shaped by limitations, and some by environmental concern. I prefer to use what I have or what I can gather and divert from a landfill.”

    Mary Kocol, Skellig Michael Rock Figure, Ireland, 2023. Archival inkjet print from a Fujifilm negative, made with a Diana camera

    Mary Kocol is a fine art and editorial photographer, and Massachusetts master gardener based in Somerville. She’s been working with toy cameras since childhood, and with the Diana camera since graduate school in the 1980s. Born in Hartford Connecticut, Mary was educated at the University of Connecticut, and the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a Master of Fine Art degree in Photography.

    She works as a professional photographer at Harvard University’s Art Museum where she photographs the Museum’s art collection. She is also a film animator, writer, and book artist. Her art photographs have been represented by Gallery NAGA, Boston, Massachusetts since 1993.

    PRC Nights Toy Camera host Bruce Myren is an artist and photographer based in Cambridge, MA. He holds a BFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and earned his MFA in studio art from the University of Connecticut, Storrs in 2009. Shown nationally and published internationally, Myren’s work has been featured in Fraction Magazineafterimage, and View Camera Magazine as well as in group exhibitions at the Phoenix Art Museum, RISD Museum’s Chace Center, Houston Center of Photography, and the William Benton Museum of Art, among others. His numerous solo exhibitions include showings at the University of the Arts, Danforth Museum of Art, and Gallery Kayafas in Boston, where he is represented. Myren has presented on panels at the national conferences of the College Art Association and the Society for Photographic Education, spoken at colleges across the country as a visiting artist, and served as a juror for exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography and Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Festival. He is a recipient of a 2014 Cambridge Arts Council Grant. Currently, Myren works at the Boston Public Library’s Digital Lab and Palm Press. He has taught at Fitchburg State University, Amherst College, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Northeastern University. He was the Chair of the Northeast Region of the Society for Photographic Education from 2010-2016, and was on the board of directors of the Photographic Resource Center where he was Director during 2018.

    Free and open to the public. No tickets required.