‘Through the Student Lens’: photography exhibit for Rochester students goes virtual

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Thankfully for students and fans of photography, digital cameras and imagining have made appreciating photos online easier than ever.

Local art gallery Image City Photography Gallery has been hosting a photo contest for students in the Rochester and Monroe County area for 11 years now, in a project they call “Through the Student Lens.”

At first, they received submissions from 12 schools. Now, they take the first 18 schools that reply to their contest; that’s simply how many photos they can fit in their space on University Ave.

Thanks to free printing from Museum Photographics and framing from Frameworks, they’re good to go.

Each school curates and submits 10 photos that are taken by students. Don Menges, one of the partners with the gallery, says that some of the schools don’t even have a photography department, like this year’s winner, School of the Arts.

Menges says they’re isn’t a ton of change in subject matter of style from year to year, but he does say that inspiration of one photo goes from one student to many.

“The work has gotten better every year,” he said. “One year, Allendale Columbia came in with a photo with a levitating lady… The next year, we got ten of those.”

Menges is a retired teacher himself. He used to teach math in Greece. He developed a love for photography later in life, and want to join the gallery because their mission was simply to rent out space, so they and other photographers would have a reasonably priced space to sell their work.

He says they’re the only photography-only gallery in New York, other than New York City.

When he joined, he suggested they have an educational component, and enjoys the kids flourish in photography.

“I taught for 36 years,” he said. “I just like the photography connection with kids. They’re so creative. They’re not tied by mortgages and car payments, and pandemics. They think out of the box.”

Although looking at digital image is only a minor substitute for going to gallery to get the full experience, Menges and his team have put together multiple ways to view the gallery.

There’s this narrated video, as well as this 3D-photo that users can navigate. It takes the digital submissions, and overlays the digital collections on the wall.

You can look at some of this year’s submissions here:

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