Photographer Michelle Turner joins our visual conversation

Photographer Michelle Turner joins our visual conversation

Rochester’s Mercury [Michelle Turner]

 In A portrait of a Rochester artist (Alex Hillis) at the Greenhouse Café, I mentioned Michelle Turner’s exquisite photographs of Rochester I first saw at the Greenhouse Café  on East Main Street.

On almost every wall (and even in the bathroom),  Michelle’s images add a gallery-like feel to the Café’s comfortable atmosphere of couches, books, piano, fireplace and lots of plants.


Alex Hillis at the Greenhouse Cafe with some of Michelle Turner’s work.

After we talked about her work, especially her Rochester series, Michelle very kindly offered to contribute two pieces.  Joining our visual conversation.  And, Michelle provides some companion narrative on how she envisioned herself as a tourist looking at Rochester for the first time.

I’m a retired educator who has been photographing for several  years. Usually I exhibit images from my extensive travels but in this show I decided to photograph Rochester as I would London or Prague, Athens or Paris.  When I travel I’m up for sunrise shoots, shoot throughout the day, and into the evening. When at home I rarely find the time to shoot in this way until now when I decided to tour Rochester as a tourist. With my camera ever ready to record new sights, this experience has let me see, what for years, I’ve driven by unseen.

One of the goals for the Greenhouse Café show was to photograph many of the sights I’ve seen for years, such as the Little, the Strong Museum or the Eastman Theater but never photographed and try to see them from a different perspective or at night when I’m not usually out photographing Rochester.  In addition. I wanted to photograph sights that were new to me, such as the downtown murals or the Rochester subway. These were delightful surprises as I discovered them.


Rochester Subway # 4 [Michelle Turner]

The two images shared with David are very different samples of my work. Rochester Subway #4  is part of a series of  graphic, colorfully bold images of the subway wall art. I’m especially fond of this particular image which is a detail from two murals, the abstract in the foreground and the large eye in the background with a rusty girder positioned to block part of the face. Faces and eyes always attract me as does texture so this image has it all. The second image, Rochester’s Mercury , was taken in color at sunrise from a downtown roof with a 400mm lens on a tripod. I’ve exhibited the color image previously but I recently decided to convert it to black and white and I find I really like the strong contrast in the sky and the statue. I’m enjoying the images “new look.”

Often a gallery will exhibit only a few pieces of an artists’ work so I appreciate the Greenhouse Café’s willingness to turn over their walls to a single artist so a larger body of work can be displayed. The works create a gallery-like feel that the café’s patrons also seem to enjoy.

To see the full range, come by the Café for music, good food, art and lots of plants. After all there is a greenhouse in back.

UPDATE: see Michelle Turner rejoins our visual conversation with more on the Rochester Subway

Also on early photography

Bringing back the mid 19th Century at the University of Rochester. Nanotechnology meets local history

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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