We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


We all love plastic toys. Some—the ones stowed in our bedside drawers—are take-offs on things that point and shoot. Others really do point and shoot: toy cameras like Hong Kong-ese Dianas and Chinese Holgas. Adored by shutterbugs with Dadaist leanings, plastic cameras not only render focus and f-stops irrelevant, but also produce bizarre effects through light leaks and balky film-advance mechanisms. Although Dianas are no longer in production, you can still find them on the Internet or at the fleas—or you can buy a Nickelodeon Photo Blaster at Toys “R” Us—for around 25 bucks a pop. But just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean they’re tawdry: In a one-room show at Arlington’s Black & White photo studio, a group of local photographers work their little cameras’ distortions to evocative effect. Like many works in the show, Adam Auel’s untitled view of a bell dangling from a wooden dock has the olde worlde style of a daguerreotype: Shallow depth of field and a searing white light leaking in from above zap his lakeside scene straight into the 19th century. The pool of black ringing the edges of Matthew Girard’s Wildwood, N.J., a hazy image of a kid on a swing set, looks like a melancholy postcard from childhood past. And in Swirl, Vickie Fruehauf’s Holga-snapped view of bubbling seafoam, the surf looks like something else made for kiddie consumption—delicate, billowy cotton candy. (Fruehauf’s Scott’s Run is pictured.) On view from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, to Friday, April 28, at Black & White, 1916 Wilson Blvd., Suite 201, Arlington. Free. (703) 525-1922. (Jessica Dawson)