The Artist-in-Residence program was created through a partnership between the Canal Corporation and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. The Canal Corporation and the Erie Canal Museum have previously partnered on a two-year Erie Canal Fellowship to tell a more inclusive history of the Canal, and on a series of tours of iconic Canal infrastructure
The inaugural 2023 Artist-in-Residence Matthew López-Jensen spent a year documenting maintenance work along the New York State Canal system through an artistic lens. Click here to view a portfolio of his work. López-Jensen engaged with Canal Corporation employees to learn—in their own words—about some of the more challenging or less recognized tasks they do to ensure our one-hundred-year-old infrastructure remains in safe operation.
Additionally, López-Jensen documented his visits to each lock, lift bridge, and many historical and natural landmarks along the 524-mile waterway on his Instagram channel @all524miles.
Above, see Matt's presentation of his work at the Erie Canal Museum.
In 2024, three new photographers will join the program: Alon Koppel, Clara Riedlinger, and Judit German-Heins.
Alon Koppel returned to photography, his main passion, focus of creativity and a source of income, following a career in design.
Alon’s experience as a graphic designer enables him to bring a more rigorous methodology and project-based approach to photography than he previously could and, paradoxically with that, more freedom to explore.
Alon’s work runs the gamut from a rephotography project of historical stereoscopic images to making long exposure photographs of various modes of transportation. Alon’s residency work will focus on researching historical canal images and then rephotographing the same locations now, reflecting on how the landscape and built environment have changed near the Canals.
His photography practice centers on key aspects of conceptual landscape photography, emphasizing location, time, and repetition. Grounded in the exploration of the sublime, the work documents the evolving landscape through meticulous depictions of man-made structures and vessels. It delves into the signs of industrialization, climate change, and the natural progression of seasons.
Alon currently resides in Catskill, New York. His work has been shown in NYC and the Hudson Valley.
Judit German-Heins is a Hungarian-American photographer who resides in Kingston, NY. She received her MFA in Photography and Integrated Media at Lesley University College of Art and Design in 2023. She creates handmade images using historical photographic processes, which connects her main interests in humanity, politics and history.
Her images and portfolios have been awarded by the New York Center for Photography, the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards, The Houston Center for Photography, the Gallery Photographica, and Photographers ’Forum Magazine. She was a Critical Mass finalist in 2023 and 2019.
Numerous of her works were selected for juried group shows in Houston, New York, Spain and Germany. Her article “Tintype Portraits: A 19th Century Process Documents 21st Century Society” was published in the October 2018 issue of The Big Photo Zine.
In 2024 Judit will take portraits of women in Upstate New York, whose work is related to the Erie Canal, as an Artist in Residence for the Erie Canal Museum. Her tintypes will pay tribute to women workers during the construction of the Erie Canal and also to those who fought for women’s rights starting from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.
Clara Riedlinger is a photographer and filmmaker born and raised in Rochester, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Video Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2016, and in 2021 earned her MFA in Film Production from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where she currently teaches live action film production.
Clara has been an avid photographer from an early age, after watching her father operate his 4x5 field camera in the family's backyard. He gifted her his 1970s Canon F1 and she has seen the world through the lens of a camera ever since. Clara is a 5th generation Finger Lakes resident, and is deeply inspired by this unique landscape.
Her artwork primarily focuses on the question of American Identity through landscape and cultural mythmaking, using documentary photography and experiential video that bridges fiction and documentary. She also studies old-time fiddle playing and American folklore and storytelling.
Clara’s work in 2024 will focus on the spiritual history of the Western New York landscape known as the Burned Over District--where the dramatic reshaping of the landscape by the Erie Canal signaled a new era of religious strangeness, philosophical experimentation, and political reinvention whose currents still flow strongly just under the surface of present-day American culture.