Join us July 18th on Instagram LIVE!

Join us tomorrow afternoon, July 18th, at 3pm for a LIVE video interview with AIR Megan May! Intern DesRee Taylor and I will be taking over the Center’s Instagram account (@rochesterarts) to share May’s process and to give you all a sneak peek of her upcoming class Superheroes, Archetypes, and Idols: Reimagining Feminine Role Models Through Self-Portraiture.

Interview with Louis Chavez

This week we launched our fourth online exhibition: One Year Later | Experiments in Process by Louis Chavez. I first met Louis last summer when I gave them a tour of our darkrooms. I remember being slightly taken aback when they were only interested in film processing, and not printing. Part of the magic of the darkroom is the print after all! I soon discovered that Louis made digital prints from their negative scans – the print was still an important part of their practice. Over the past several months I’ve really enjoyed watching Louis experiment in our darkrooms. Louis has also been an active member of our Darkroom Club where they’ve brought in their color film photographs. Learn more about Louis’ practice in my interview with them below.

Megan Charland: You only recently started incorporating photography into your art practice. Can you share what this medium adds to your practice and what using a camera means to you?

Louis Chavez: I’ve been into photography since I was a kid, mostly shooting with cheap toy or thrift store cameras, but it was only this year that I began to focus on learning the ins and outs of shooting with a film SLR. Using a camera allows me to represent my surroundings as authentically as I possibly can, and it has been one of the best ways for me to share these stories and bring visibility to queer and other marginalized communities.

MC: You almost exclusively are shooting film, correct? Why film photography?

LC: Film has always struck me as so much more warm and vibrant. The tones you capture when working with photo emulsion are unlike anything you see with digital, and you can alter your entire feel by choosing a different film stock. Along with photography, I have also done a good deal of screen printing, which often incorporates photo emulsion into the process of making your screen. Transferring an image to emulsion, via lens or a transparency sheet, is such a cool and interesting technique.

MC: I’m looking forward to seeing your upcoming newsprint zine you’ve been teasing – what can we expect from this project? Have you seen your zine practice shift since you started working with photography?

LC: It was never meant to be a tease so much as it’s more a matter of indecision. I find it difficult to choose which images to put in print, because that always feels so final… but making that commitment is also the point. In keeping with the tradition of analog media, I think photo work ought to be put in print, and to be shared with your audience in a tangible form. With photo zines, I tend to be more concerned with the quality of the output — from the paper type to the ink quality. For my online exhibition here, I really wanted to share a culmination of this year’s work — both online and in the form of a tabloid-sized newsprint zine.

MC: For your online exhibition here you shared different processes you’ve experimented with over the past year. What does 2018 look like for you? Are there any additional processes you are looking to experiment with, or current processes you are excited to master?

LC: I began scanning my own film this year, utilizing the facilities at the Flower City Art Center, and it has encouraged me to pick up my own scanner in order to gain a more thorough understanding of scan techniques and color correction. My goal is to have a minimal setup of bulk film, developing supplies and a scanner in order to produce images at the most inexpensive rate I can. Aside from that, I’d like to further explore documentary and editorial projects, and begin to work as a photographer on a semi-regular basis.

Darkroom Club – Join Us!

I’m looking forward to our next Darkroom Club meeting this Sunday! Last month we shared prints from several members and we’d love to have YOU join us this month. We’re meeting December 10th at 11am in the Sunken Room.

Bring your prints with you to share. This is an informal critique session where we share our current projects and generally just chat about darkroom photography. It’s a lot of fun! I’m excited to see this group grow in 2018. If you have any questions or feedback please do not hesitate to contact me at or 585-271-5920. I hope to see you here at the Center on Sunday!

Interview with Citlali Fabián

This week we launched our third online exhibition: It is called the American Flag by Citlali Fabián. Citlali was an artist-in-residence here at the Center this summer where she started working on a new photographic project. This online exhibition is a culmination of her three month residency – and I’m already looking forward to having Citlali back here in Rochester next year!

Megan Charland: For this project you used a Fuji Instax camera. Why did you decide to use instant film for these photos when you primarily photograph with black and white film?

Citlali Fabián: Different projects requires different ways to approach them. In the case of this particular project I think shooting in color was necessary to me because showing color from the flag and the houses were important to collect more information and to exalt the flag’s presence. Also instax film help me to creat photographic objects with a unique essence.

MC: Is this project complete? If not, at what point do you think it will be finished?

CF: Not yet. I have a clear idea about how I want to finish it. But unfortunately my time here went so fast. I’m planing to come next year to finish it and publish a book about it.

MC: You started It is called the American Flag while a resident here at Flower City Arts Center this summer. What do you plan on working on once you return to Mexico this fall? Do you see a Mexican Flag project in your future?

CF: I’m planning to finish a long term photographic project called Apuntes sobre mi madre this fall.  It is a wet plate collodion project that I will show next year in Houston and Rochester.

I don’t think I will do a project about the Mexican flag because it has a different impact. I don’t see Mexican flags there every three four houses as here.  They have a presence on government buildings, during the World Cup or at Independence Day on September 16th.

MC: You recently completed a Certificate in Photographic Preservation and Collection Management from the George Eastman Museum. How does this professional experience impact your personal art practice?

CF: This experience let me see and start to plan better ways to develop my career. But definitely the best and more constructive part to me was been able to see master pieces from different renowned artists. That experience changed and opened up my mind. I believe as visual artist part of our duty is saw art because we grown from it. I feel so lucky to been able to see images that I knew from books and to be able to appreciate their without the glass between us. My favorite so far Julia Margaret Cameron images.

Interview with Kristy Bianchi

Last week we launched our second online exhibition: Public Market by Kristy Bianchi. I initially reached out to Kristy after viewing her photographs from Arleen Thaler’s ROC Photo Map project. The way she captured color and form, her attention to detail, the stories she told – I wanted to see more!

Megan Charland: I was surprised to learn that you only recently started working in photography. What made you decide to pick up a camera? Can you talk a little about your training?

Kristy Bianchi: In the past I’ve played around with point and shoot cameras, but never got the photography bug until about a year and a half ago. I’ve spent years curating and incorporating other peoples images for graphic design projects, but not my own. That’s probably what made me realize it was time to learn how to use a camera and expand my skill set. Taking Karl Heinz Kremer’s beginner Digital SLR class at Flower City Arts Center was one of the best decisions I ever made. Ever since then I’ve been working on learning as much as I can, taking different classes at the Arts Center, and just going out shooting. It’ll be a life long process, and its been enjoyable every step of the way.

MC: With your background in graphic design, how do you think that work influences your photography?

KB: It definitely helped train my eye, giving me a good grasp on composition. Teaching me the value of negative space, the rule of thirds, directing and capturing how the eye flows when looking at images, and how to focus on what the main message or subject is in an artful way.

MC: Browsing your website it looks like you primarily take a photo-journalistic approach to your subjects, can you talk about how you approach your subjects?

KB: I like to sit back and see what unfolds, but also dive in and take a 360 degree approach with my subjects, lighting, and environment. Sort of moving around until I see what works, trying to blend the three into a nice image.

MC: What’s next? Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you want to share?

KB: I’d like to work on some more complex photo composite projects. Some elaborate surreal/fantasy style portraits incorporating models, make-up, costumes, scouted locations, then edited in photoshop.

Going on photo walks with Arleen Thaler really opened up my eyes and taught me a lot, making me discover my love of street documentary style photography. There will be more of that in my future for sure.

I’m kind of obsessed with macro nature photography, and I want to get into commercial, editorial and video work.

So I’m kind of all over the place! Right now I’m dabbling in as many areas as I can, as time goes on I’ll have a better idea on what I want to focus on, so far I love all of it :).

Q: Do you have any advice for photographers just starting out?

A: Bring your camera everywhere you can, you never know what might catch your eye.

Take some classes learn the basics, don’t get overwhelmed with all the equipment out there.

Instagram is a great way to see whats going on and get your work seen. Most of all practice, experiment and have fun with it!

Celebrating 40 Years of Photography!

Hi Everyone! I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting news: the Photography program here at Flower City Arts Center is celebrating our 40th anniversary this fall!

We have such a rich history here at the Center! Over the past few months I have been working with our volunteers to digitize our archive and just the process of going through all of these photographs from the past 40 years is incredible. How great is the photo above of Photography Director Sharon Turner in the darkroom when she was a student in 1977? So fun! Did you know that Sharon was our founder Anne Beach’s first student? We’re planning an exhibition and celebration this fall – more info soon! In the meantime we’ve launched a fundraiser to help us support our future. Our goal is to raise $40,000 by this fall. As of today, within only a couple of weeks, we’ve raised $850. You can learn more about the fundraiser on our website >>

Want to learn more about our early years? Read Sharon’s letter that was mailed out last week >> We mailed out over 2,500 letters to our community – imagine if everyone donated $20! We would hit our goal by Friday. If you are interested in donating please click on the PayPal button on the side bar. Thank you for your support!

New Name!

Flower City Arts Center

Hi Everyone! I’m excited to share we have a NEW name! Formerly Genesee Center for the Arts & Education, we are now Flower City Arts Center.

We selected this new name as a tribute to our city and the region. We reflect with pride on the accomplishments of the art center over the course of our history reaching back to our beginnings on Genesee Street and look forward to continuing our traditions of giving back to artists and to our creative community. You will begin to see a new look and the new name as we transition our many printed and online materials. –Janice Gouldthorpe, Executive Director

We’re excited to enter the new year with a new name. Speaking of new year, I’d love to hear your resolutions! Is 2017 the year you return to the darkroom? Learn salt printing? Make your own tintype? This winter session we are offering 30+ photography classes! Including: Wedding Photography, Food Photography & Styling, Sports Photography: Amerks & Razorsharks, Photography as a Business, Object Photography (Studio Lighting), and more!

I look forward to seeing you around the Center soon!

Help Support Our AIR Program

Megan Charland - Instagram @megancharland

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll already know I participated in the George Eastman Museum’s Photo Finish 5K last weekend with my co-worker Amanda Chestnut. This annual fundraising event has raised over $100,000 so far this year to support various organizations and causes in our community. Here at Genesee Center we are raising funds to help support our Artist-in-Residency program. So far we have raised $610 out of our $1,500 goal. Donations are accepted through November 1st so please consider donating and helping us support these amazing artists!

Arleen Thaler

This year I am excited to have our very first Photography AIR – Arleen Thaler – join us for a 12 month residency. Arleen will be posting regularly to this blog giving us all an insight in to her photography practice.

Also, I already have our 2nd Photography AIR lined up! I’m thrilled to have Stephanie Mercedes join us this January for a 3-month residency. 2017 is going to be a busy exciting year here in the Photography program.

Interested in supporting our Artists-in-Residence? Donate >>

Interview with Floyd Gibson

Good morning! Over the weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing Floyd Gibson. His exhibition I’m Every Woman: Fashion of the Ages is on view here at the Center through Saturday, October 29th.

Want to learn more about I’m Every Woman? Join me this Wednesday, October 5th at 7pm for Floyd’s artist talk. Model, and collaborator, Rebecca Holtz will be present to discuss what it was like researching and portraying women’s fashions from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. In the meantime, check out the interview below:

1920s Casual Wear

Megan Charland: Wow! We had such a great turn-out at your opening reception last month – what was it like for you as a first-time exhibiting artist to share your photographs with so many people?

Floyd Gibson: I was absolutely “blown away” by the opening turnout. I’m happy I decided, reluctantly, to show this work after speaking with you and feeling the project was worthy. I knew that the work told a story but was really surprised at the interest shown by the community.

MC: In your artist statement you say this project was inspired by watching old movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel. Is there a particular time period that you favor? A favorite movie from that period?

FG: I watch many movies on Turner Classic Movies channel but I’d say that gangster movies are my favorite genre, and I favor the films from the 1930’s right through the godfather series. I enjoy them all & if I had to pick one, it would be Godfather I.

MC: This project took you a little over a year to complete – do you prefer these long-term projects or was this a challenge?

FG: I simply enjoy photography & don’t necessarily think in terms of time. I do however prefer telling a story & when it ends, it ends. Obviously with this project the time is not defined but the timeline is.

MC: So, what’s next? Are you currently working on another body of work? Will it be another long-term project?

FG: I am working on another project that will involve many people & will take some time but not nearly as long as this one. One of the benefits of producing this work is that I learned a lot about myself and processes that I can apply going forward.



Nikon camera

Hi Everyone! Megan Charland here. I’m the Photography Program Manager at Genesee Center and I’m excited to launch our brand new blog to highlight all of the amazing activities we have going on throughout the year.

Our fall session begins on September 19th – only a couple of weeks away. This season we are proud to offer over 25 photography classes! Classes are filling up quick so give us a call soon to register: 585-271-5920.

A feature of this blog I am excited to launch in the next couple of weeks is our online exhibitions. Interested in having your work featured? Submit your proposal online to be considered.