The Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club (A3C3) is a democratic collective of photographers dedicated to having fun while exploring and promoting analog methods of producing the still image. Our “crappy camera” moniker humorously acknowledges our group’s fondness for toy and home-built cameras, Polaroids, vintage photography equipment — really all film equipment, in general. Our mission is to share our love of film photography with the community and with each other to encourage the use of silver-halide methods for creating unique and interesting photographs. To this end, A3C3 organizes group activities, workshops, critiques, and exhibits aimed at promoting photography’s roots and educating our members and the larger community about analog photography. We are an all-inclusive film-using group, so any camera that uses film is welcome, whether it’s a Holga or a Hasselblad!
We encourage experimentation and alt-process methods, and whether you are interested in cyanotypes, cross-processing, Polaroids, wet-plate, or just want to learn about basic film photography, we are here for you.
Our original manifesto from 2007 is pretty much unchanged:
“At this moment in history, the technical aspects of photography are receiving unprecedented attention. New cameras of amazing sophistication are breathlessly analyzed by photo magazines and websites. Photographers are draining their bank accounts attempting to keep up with equipment purchases.
But a few photographers are reacting against this conspicuous consumption and rampant technophilia.
The essence of photography–to place a particular frame around the world at a particular moment–remains unchanged. So some choose to pursue this act in the rawest possible way: By using the most obsolete, flawed, and low-tech cameras available. Most were created as economy snapshot cameras, some even as toys. Many are decades old. All share very limited controls, and optics of questionable quality; sometimes a mere pinhole.
The toy-camera aesthetic turns its back on sterile technical perfection. Instead it celebrates the messy unpredictability and dreamlike imagery that only a truly crappy camera can provide.
The Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club is comprised of a bunch of photographers that appreciate the serendipitous nature of toy camera photography. We experiment with modifying old cameras to make them do new tricks, use outdated films, alternative processes, home-made lenses, pinholes, and whatever it takes to create something that is unique.”
You should also know that the A3C3 is a registered 501C3 non-profit organization. We accept donations, and your old film equipment will get a good home as we pass things along to those that could use them.