RISOdency Update

Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting to know the Risograph duplicator and am finding it to be an incredibly versatile and useful machine for experimenting with image making. We’re so lucky in Rochester to have FCAC as a space where community members have access to specialized tools for art making!

I had the opportunity to teach an introductory workshop and whenever I teach I always learn more in the process. I really enjoyed seeing what color combinations and layering techniques the students used. FCAC also has a swatch book for the seven colors they keep in stock, which is helpful for the planning stages of any project.

Most of my interest in the Risograph comes from a need to expand my book making practice to larger editions. The cost effectiveness, speed, and eco friendliness of the Risograph far outweigh its drawbacks.

I have been primarily experimenting with the use of photographic imagery and was able to do this for the FCAC 2020 Printmaking and Book Arts calendar. The first two layers of my calendar month (June) were linoleum blocks printed on the Vandercook No.4 and the final two layers were printed using the Risograph duplicator.

I am also very excited about the potential for variation when printing on different colored papers. Below are a couple examples of images I’ve been working with so far:

Listening while Capturing

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~Stephen R. Covey

Sometimes in the excitement of capturing an image, we lose sight of the story that makes up the person by not being present.

One of the most important lessons I hope for participants of my photo field trips and social reportage classes to learn is one of being able to truly listen to their subject. Listening is a highly effective habit of the socially engaged photographer. Taking the time to not only listen but to understand the message helps to capture an image that is filled with emotion. This past Saturday, the Photo Field Trip Session II, put their listening skills into practice as we explored the southwest quadrant of Rochester, NY. Strolling along West Main Street, the group met several people who shared their stories with us as we enjoyed colorful conversations about, race, the community and politics. By listening to the members that make up a community, especially a community in distress, we can then create those conversations for change. Imagery combined with life stories can become the foundation for solutions.

When you listen, you not only hear the emotion in your subject, you see it in their expressions. The longer you spend time getting to know them, you become aware of those nuances that make a memorable photo.