I can’t believe it, my summer as Artist-in-Residence at the Flower City Arts Center went by so fast! The past few months were filled with so many challenges and productive activities. While my work is primarily shot using black and white film, I haven’t had the chance to print images within the darkroom in almost seven years. For me, working in the darkroom is like riding a bike – something that feels natural even after many years without practice. It was truly a delight to be able to reconnect and use the darkroom this summer.
I also got the chance to teach a FCAC 4×5 photography class. What a challenge! A big thank you to all my wonderful students this summer. It was a great learning experience and I had a lot of fun carrying around the 4×5 camera on our field trips. The photos have been looking great, and I can’t wait to see more of the images that were shot during the class. One of my favorite things about photography is the way it connects me to people. Besides the 4×5 class, I also got to connect with youth migrant farmers at a SUNY Brockport photography workshop. While this was a short-term workshop, I am hoping to work on a larger project with this group, since the students have so many amazing stories to tell.
Out of all my projects however, I mostly enjoyed starting my new body of work It’s called the American Flag. While I had some initial ideas for this project, I didn’t expect that it would grow to center around my everyday landscape in Rochester. I was continually surprised by how many different ideologies could be found living together on the same block. As I began to photograph, my objective for the project grew to raising awareness on a local level and hopefully encouraging people to connect with their neighbors no matter what their beliefs. I can’t wait to come back next year in order to continue this project.
I will really miss the FCAC along with all the wonderful people that I was able to connect with here. Thank you all for your continued support. See you soon!
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.