Cinemagraph Workshop

A few weeks ago I got to teach a workshop on making cinemagraphs. In college, I began incorporating motion work into my work and I found that cinemagraphs were a good entry point for someone with a background in photography. Since then, I’ve loved using the format to experiment with imagery. 

Cinemagraphs refer to images that combine still photography with isolated movements. In this workshop, we shot using a DSLR with video capabilities. In the lighting studio, we used two different set-ups.

The first set had everyone taking turns to shoot a “self portrait” video. Each person stood as stationary as possible while blowing bubbles. The goal was to isolate the movement so that only the bubbles would be in motion.

The second set was a common cinemagraph trick – the wine pour. In this one the set is completely still while only the liquid from the bottle into the glass moves. Everyone took turns trying a pour in this set to animate later.

Finally we went into the digital studio to create our videos in Photoshop. There are a few different programs that can be used to create a cinemagraph, but Photoshop is sufficient for short-form video editing. We went through the process of cutting, masking, timing, and looping the video together. In the end, each person walked away with at least two different videos and the knowledge of how to apply this format to any project in the future.

I was so thrilled to get the chance to teach something I love to do so much here. Thanks to those who were able to attend! I hope I get the chance to teach here again someday.

Niagara Falls

Recently, my mother and I decided to visit the places we used to frequent on the American side of Niagara Falls. I wanted to go with the intention of photographing as well as honoring the memory of my maternal grandmother. She had lived in this area for the majority of her life and since her passing in July of 2013, my family visits here have grown infrequent. I find this place both bittersweet and sacred in my memory. 

As we drove, I photographed out the car window, capturing the power lines that follow the thruway and cut through the landscape. When I was a kid, we used to make this drive quite often. I remember always being bored out of my mind, staring out the window following the power lines that tethered here to home.

When we arrived we started walking around Goat Island, following the path around the river. At each opening in the trees, I would approach the water to document the walk.

It was an incredibly hot day so by the time we got to the actual falls, we only stayed a short while. The mist was high and refreshing to walk through. Shooting through it, the buildings were veiled in the distance.

It was great to get back here and look at this place with fresh eyes. I’m grateful for all the times I’ve gotten to see this place in person growing up. It still means the world to me now.

AIR Introduction: Megan Barrette

Hi everyone! I’m so thrilled to be here this summer as an Artist-In-Residence. I’d love to take this chance to introduce myself.

Nothing makes me feel more vulnerable than photography. Before it was my job, before it was my course of study, it was first my greatest means of connection. Not only was it a creative outlet, it quickly became something that made me feel like I was valuable in the eyes of other people. So much of my ego hinged on what I made that, when the time came to actually follow it, I became more fearful. School was difficult; I thought about quitting numerous times. Post-grad was even harder, trying to advocate for myself and my worth as an artist. But creating my own work outside an institution or installed structure is a different beast entirely. It’s so much easier to make my art in a vacuum. To show it to the family, friends and fellow artists that love me.

On sharing work, one of my closest friends reminded me of this recently:

I’ve had incredible, supportive friends echo sentiment to me the past few weeks. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be an Artist-in-Residence at Flower City Arts Center. It is nothing short of a dream come true. My goal here is to make something that is honest and that hopefully connects you and me.

Photography is usually my way of working through a recurring thought. I tend to find catharsis in the construction of metaphors that make the world feel less chaotic. I don’t know if life is truly as symbolic as the narrative I actively pursue to build or if I’m reading too much into it. But my mind tends to ruminate – to overthink, and I’m trying to find solace in making the details matter.

I love to live in the space between analog and digital. I often incorporate motion into my work as a means of experimentation and expression. The classes I will soon be teaching will be motion-based workshops!

During my residency, I’ll be working on developing imagery that explores the relationship between photography and memory. I’m really looking forward to the next couple of months here participating in this great community and making work alongside other artists. I’ll surely be sinking a lot of time into the Lighting Studio and new Digital Art Studio, so I hope to see you there!

Kallitype Post Script

Hi everyone,

Jen Perena here with one more final-final post!

I have created a website ( where you can keep up with me and the work I am making. At the moment there’s not much on there….but soon I will have info about my work, the Photo Book of my exhibit (more below), and more of my journey with kallitypes!

In the meantime….the Photo Book proof that I ordered through Blurb came in….but the images are either a) yellowish, b) too dark or c) too muddy. I also didn’t like how a couple of the design elements (page color, font) looked. Overall, a disappointment because this version is not ready to print for sale…BUT it does seem correctable. I am working on an updated version which I hope to order this week. It will take roughly 2 weeks to print proof#2 and then I’ll make a post on my website (note the URL above!) with more details.

And, as I alluded to in my last post, I have been spending time in the darkroom making more prints, using up my chemistry and experimenting with some very different papers gifted to me by my friend Bill Bates.  I have some cool photos and a video up on instagram showing some of the output, and I am planning to have one of my first posts on the website be a run down of my experiences with the different papers.

Finally, I submitted a kallitype for the upcoming ‘Wall to Wall’ Member’s Exhibit at the Flower City Arts Center, which opens this Friday, March 1st. I hope to be there for a little while and look forward to catching up with everyone!

AIR Conclusion: Jen Perena’s Final Post with Links

Hi everyone!

Jen Perena here with my final post! What a great, inspiring and positive (and sometimes exhausting) experience I have had!


Being a resident artist was never really a personal life goal, since I  work full time in a non-art field, don’t have an art degree, and don’t really ‘fit the mold’ of an artist-in-residence (who is usually present all the time at the arts center, meeting and greeting students, teaching, etc)….BUT having a solo show of my own was definitely on my ‘list’, and I am thrilled to have been able to make it a reality under the AIR program. Especially since I did it at the Photo Dept/Community Darkroom of the Flower City Arts Center, where I learned the kallitype technique, have been teaching and volunteering for years, and where I derive a lot of my inspiration to make art.

During my residency, I made roughly 150 kallitype prints from around 40 8×10 size plastic negatives; I estimate that I spent approx 100 hours in the Silver Den and Dan’s Darkroom, coating paper, making contact print exposures, and developing/toning/fixing/washing my prints; another 30-ish hours in the digital lab manipulating iPhone images in Photoshop to make the negatives, plus scanning my finished prints and then editing them for my Photo Book; maybe 30 hours spent watercoloring the prints in the Vegetation Series, plus around 20 hours matting and framing the 25 pieces in the exhibit; not to mention the countless hours writing these blog articles, sending emails, and keeping up with social media, in preparation for and while promoting my exhibit and artist talk and demo. At times it felt like having a second full time job!

I could not have done it without the support of the staff of the Photo Dept, nor without the opportunity to be a resident. The 24/7 access to the facilities, the technical support from the staff and instructors, and the constant positive feedback and encouragement were all immensely helpful.

And now it’s finito. My exhibit officially ended on Saturday, Feb 16. Taking the work off the walls, taking apart the frames for the prints that didn’t sell (so I could return the borrowed frames and glass to their owners), and wrapping up the framed prints that sold, was a bittersweet experience; I have really enjoyed spending so much time in the gallery over the past several weekends, meeting and talking to visitors to the show, and I’m sad to know that part is over now. However,  I am beyond thrilled at how many of you lucky people get to take my ‘babies’ home (and also almost equally thrilled that some didn’t sell so I have a few for myself!)

I have a few more days left to my residency, and I’ll continue making work to use up my chemistry and paper – mostly just for fun, some experimenting with new papers, etc. If anything interesting happens I may share it….

Til then, I wanted to share some links where you can continue to keep up with me and my work, as well as see videos of the the exhibit and my artist talk on YouTube:

–> Follow me on Instagram at #kallitypegirl

–> Take a tour of ‘The Painted Photograph’ exhibit – Part 1 (Winter Series)

–> Continue the tour of ‘The Painted Photograph’ exhibit – Part 2 (Vegetation Series)

–> Watch the Artist Talk on Youtube (56 minutes)

Thank you all for following along, and I look forward to seeing you around the Center, at exhibit openings (I’ll be in the Members Show and at the opening on March 1st!) and maybe even in the Darkroom!

Take care!

Jen Perena