August 22, 2010 1

This Week in CITY: August 18-24

By in Photopalooza, Rochester, Work

CITY newspaper

I get to shoot a wide variety of stuff for CITY: locations I’ve never been, interesting people in the Rochester area, restaurants I’ve never heard of. I try to learn something during each photo outing, so even if I don’t get to read the final paper cover-to-cover I take something away from each assignment. This past week was a particularly good week, so I thought I’d share a couple small stories and some alternate photos to what ended up in print.

Jean-Claude Brizard

I think I ended up with maybe 10 minutes to interact with Superintendent of the Rochester City School District (RCSD), Jean-Claude Brizard. I met him at an ex-convent on East Ave, where he was having a retreat with his staff to plan out their strategy for the coming school year, so I had to steal him out of the middle of a meeting. The building was beautiful old stone and brick on the outside, but inside had been completely remodeled into a yellow-tinged minimalist space with a triangular ceiling and glass office walls.

Jean-Claude Brizard Cover story layout for CITY Newspaper

Every time I photograph Jean-Claude I’m struck by how tall he is, what a good looking guy he is, and also how easy he is to talk to. For me, at least, I never feel like I’m getting calculated answers or “fake-chatter” that can sometimes result from public figures talking to “the press.” He always says what’s on his mind and has a cool confidence about him, making him a real pleasure to work with. Besides my photo on the cover of the issue, I also shot the interior article photos and designed the story’s page layout. Upon reading Tim’s really interesting article, I decided that Brizard’s relationship to the school district was best summed up as him trying to keep hundreds of separate elements (teachers, non-education workers, students, parents, unions, etc.) tied together, so I went with lots of tiny lines converging on one point, where the photo of Brizard points.

Brick 266

The dining column is just about my favorite thing to shoot. Susie’s piece on the opening of Brick 266 on Park Avenue sent me down to the brick-oven pizza shop to meet with owner John Toscano. John whipped me up a pepper, onion, and artichoke pizza to shoot (and eat!) while his cousin Brian, an art teacher in the RCSD, handled the oven and chatted with John’s mother who’d come down for lunch.

Brick 266 Brick 266

The restaurant occupies a tough spot on Park Avenue where a retro ice cream shop and Cuomo’s Deli (tear!) used to be, but John’s given it a fresh coat of green paint, some big red umbrellas for outdoor seating that cause awesome reflections in the window, and arranged his counter-top so he can watch passers-by and they can watch him roll, top, and cut his pizza. Really nice guy who’s eager to please, so if you’re in the area definitely go get a crispy thin slice.

Robin Weintraub

Jeremy’s story on number 5 recyclables brought me Robin Weintraub, a concerned citizen who had set up number 5 collections among multi-denomination religious groups in an effort to raise awareness to the fact that most of what we put in our recycling bins are just thrown away. As a Monroe County resident, I had NO idea that ONLY number 1 and 2 plastics are picked up and recycled — the rest are all just thrown into landfills. Yikes. When she came in to the office for her portrait, she was surprised to see that I’d chosen an orange backdrop and she showed up wearing a blue shirt. Turns out blue and orange held special meaning for her, as when she and her husband were in the Peace Corps they traveled to Africa and witnessed villagers hand-weaving bright blue fabric in complex designs. She and her husband bought some and have them hanging in their house in bright orange frames, so it was a surprising coincidence and brought back memories. Besides her Peace Corps stories, we also talked about her recycling efforts, her tours of local recycling plants, and the unfortunate problem of how, surprise surprise, recycling needs to turn a profit and finding buyers for the plastic is one of the most difficult parts of the process.

Finally, we ended up with a last-minute need for me to cover the art review of the work of Cordell Cordaro and Michael Michael Motorcycle at Lux. Lovers of the Wedge and drinking on Monday nights, everyone at MAMA’s House came along for the ride and played board games while I fretted over shooting prints behind reflective glass in a dark bar.

Battleship! Michael Michael Motorcycle's work, hanging at LUX

Shooting issues aside, Motorcycle’s work really spoke to me. I’d seen it online, thanks to a link from Lee, but up close it was impossible not to appreciate his intricate line-work and feel warmed by the bright color palettes. Some day I’ll be able to afford the art I want, and Adam and I will have more wall space to display it all! The show is up for awhile, so I’d definitely suggest checking it out as well as reading Becka’s interesting-as-always article.

I’m working on some photo-heavy assignments at the moment for CITY, as well as design & video for ImageOut, senior portraits for my cousin Whitney, a new mix cd, and a return to the world of short-films with Katie & Adam, so another roundup of recent projects is likely to be needed soon!

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One Response to “This Week in CITY: August 18-24”

  1. reynolds says:

    excellent work, matt.

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