“The Tiffin Room” Book for University at Buffalo

We finished a custom book project for the University at Buffalo for a competition. The book was designed by Edgewise Design in Rochester, NY. The cover of this book was made out of plexiglass with leaf skeletons encased in the plexiglass. The spine was created from a Japanese silk. The book block was printed on our HP Indigo 3050 on Mohawk Color Premium 100# Text. The final page had a pocket which held a menu for the competition.

By |April 9th, 2014|Categories: Featured, Fine Edition Books, Recent Projects|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on “The Tiffin Room” Book for University at Buffalo

Thou Art… Will Give… Exhibition of photographs by Eric Kunsman, August 5th-September 25th, 2011

Thou Art… Will Give… Exhibition of photographs by Eric Kunsman

August 5th-September 25th, 2011
Opening Reception: August 5th, 2011 6-9 PM

The Drapery

Warneds Logbook A from 1839

Samuel Johnson


Eight years ago, shortly after moving back to the Philadelphia area, I brought a group of my photography students from Mercer County Community College to the Eastern State Penitentiary on a field trip. It was a great photographic site. The reports I had heard about the architecture of the facility were definitely true, and the light and feeling of abandonment really gave off a sense that the Penitentiary might still be inhabited by ghosts or spirits. But there are a lot of abandoned spaces like that, so my first trip to the site would probably have been my last if I didn’t return there on a completely different class trip a few weeks later – this time, as a student.

On that trip, one of my University of Arts professors, Heidi Kyle, introduced us to Eastern State’s Archives. Almost as soon as we entered the archives area, I noticed a book titled ‘Eastern State Penitentiary Logbook A.’ I opened it idly…and then spent the entire visit pouring over its pages.

The Warden’s entries brought the Penitentiary to life for me. Through his words, the space now felt inhabited and connected to deep emotions – infused with new meaning. Though his writing is detached, the warden clearly got to know the prisoners far more personally than you would expect. The logs include details about prisoners’ families, whether they could read or write, whether they felt guilty about their crimes, whether they were penitent. While my photographs from the earlier visit captured a lot of the physical presence and feeling of the Penitentiary, it was the writings that started to, literally, flesh out the functional and human effects of this altruistic, but ultimately disastrous, Quaker experiment with reforming criminals. On that day, the genesis for this show clicked.

I started returning to the Penitentiary. During each trip it was at least a half hour before I could start photographing. I found myself instantly reflecting on some of the Warden’s words, wandering through the space, and rediscovering things through his eyes and his reflections.

In Thou Art…, Will Give…, I hope to offer some of the atmosphere experienced by prisoners when the Penitentiary was active. This exhibition attempts to capture some of story, the energy, and the sorrows of this remarkable space. Actual photographs of entries from the Warden’s 1800s logbooks have been blended with my photographs of the Penitentiary, to give a historical sense of both the prisoners and their treatment at the Penitentiary. Photographs with text overlaid are offered to allow the viewer just a hint about the presence of individual prisoners. I am hoping that through these images and text, visitors can share some of the sense of loneliness, hopelessness, and desperate search for redemption that drove so many of those spirits still trapped within the walls of Eastern State.

I continue to visit Eastern State, because this project feels somehow incomplete. The Penitentiary is a massive space, and it hints that it has many more stories that need to be told. So, guided by the Warden – a man or men who died many years ago – I’ll keep trying to capture those stories still trapped in the crumbling walls of Eastern State Penitentiary.

— Eric T. Kunsman, July/2011

By |June 1st, 2011|Categories: Photography, Recent Projects|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Thou Art… Will Give… Exhibition of photographs by Eric Kunsman, August 5th-September 25th, 2011

Recap of November Gallery Shows

We had a great turnout at our openings for “A Life Reviewed: George Eastman Through the Viewfinder” and “Eat a Peach”  last Friday!  Thank you to everyone who came!  If you missed the show it will be up in the galleries at Booksmart until January.

The Galleries looked great! Both Emma and Lisa worked hard all week to get everything together by Friday.

Recap of the “In Process” Exhibition

In Process opened in the Kunstler gallery last Friday, August 6th.  In Process is an exhibition of the employee’s at Booksmart Studio, Dylan Knapp, Mark Nacey, Sean Dyroff, David Ohl and Alex Broderick.  We had a good turn out and want to continue to invite guests to come check the show out!  It will be up for a month until Friday September 3rd and we are open Monday-Friday 9-6 every week.  Here are some images from the opening.

In Habitation: Call for Entries

Exhibition Opportunity at Booksmart Studio-Call for Entries

Booksmart Studio is seeking submissions for our exhibition “In Habitation”.  The juror will be David Wright who is an editorial photographer based out of Maine.  David’s series “Alebtong, Uganda, 2009” is very well known and he was also the co-founder of the project and exhibition called Pause to Begin.

“In Habitation” is looking for photographs that help explore the landscape and infrastructure of America, the population responsible for it, and the symbiotic relationship between the two.  This exhibition explores the ways in which our urban and rural centers operate and fluctuate, creating a uniquely American dynamic of experience.  This exhibition will ultimately present a socio-graphic interpretation of America- a mapping of people and place.

Juror: David Wright,

David Wright is a photographer based in Maine. He has always learned about the world and himself through photography. In January and February 2009 David spent 2 months in northern Uganda photographing for A River Blue, a school providing psychosocial counseling and intense vocational training in topics like tailoring, agriculture, and arts to vulnerable youth. His series “Alebtong, Uganda, 2009” was selected as 1 of 3 winners in the 2009 Conscientious Portfolio Competition and was exhibited at Anastasia Photo in New York from February 5 – April 14, 2010. David’s editorial work is represented by Redux Pictures and his Uganda work is represented by AnastasiaPhoto. Most photographs on this website are available as licensed images and edition prints.


Call for Entries Deadline: October 10th, 2010

Opening Reception: December 3rd, 2010

Download the prospectus form here

Please send your CD/DVD or files with a completed prospectus to:

Booksmart Studio

Gallery Call for Entries

250 North Goodman Street, 1st floor

Rochester, NY 14607

$25 for 3 entries, $35 for 5 entries, $5 for each additional entry and a limit of 10 entries total.

Image restrictions: 1000 pixels max on the largest dimension, jpeg, 100 dpi, no file larger then 3 megabytes please.

By |August 9th, 2010|Categories: Call for Entries|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on In Habitation: Call for Entries

Gallery Opening, “In Process”

This Friday, August 5, 2010 we are having an opening reception for “In Process. This show will feature all of Booksmart’s employees work. Included in the show are David Ohl, Mark Nacey, Dylan Knapp, Sean Dyroff and Alex Broderick. Each employee has selected a few pieces to display in Gallery Kunstler.

The reception will be opening from 6-9PM at
Booksmart Studio
250 N. Goodman St.
1st floor
Rochester NY, 14607

Come join us!


Recap of “Ashes In the Night Sky” exhibition

Last month Bill McDowell was in our studio printing out his show and helping us hang it.  We had two openings, one in conjunction with the Book Art’s Symposium at VSW (Visual Studies Workshop) on Thursday, July 1st, night and Bill McDowell’s opening Ashes In The Night Sky in Gallery Kunstler for First Friday on Friday night, July 2nd.  Elisabeth Tonnard, a book artist, also had her work up in the Rochester Pin Up gallery showcasing some of her bookwork.  Here are some images from printing, hanging and the actual events.

By |July 6th, 2010|Categories: Gallery Shows|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Recap of “Ashes In the Night Sky” exhibition

“Ashes In the Night Sky” exhibition, July 21st, 2010

Ashes in the Night Sky, an exhibition of an artists’ book and inkjet photographs by Bill McDowell, will open at the Gallery Kunstler, 250 N. Goodman St., on Thursday, July 1 with a reception from 5:00- 7:00 p.m. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Photo-Bookworks Symposium at Visual Studies Workshop.

© Bill McDowell,

McDowell’s book consists of 48 inkjet photographs, and it was printed, hand sewn, and bound in a limited edition by Booksmart Studio. The exhibition includes 20 large (36” X 45”) and 20 smaller (17” X 22”) photographs, also printed at Booksmart Studio.

Ashes in the Night Sky” is based on the idea that when one looks at a celestial sky, the astronomical objects seen are representations of the past. McDowell used his father’s cremated ashes to simulate stars, nebulae and galaxies, scanning them on a flatbed scanner. Later, he re-worked the images on a computer.

The photographs in the exhibition are arranged in four related series: Galaxies, Night Skies, Negative Prints, and Fragments.

In Galaxies, McDowell often relied on using source images found in astronomy books. “I would work with one of these astronomical photographs by my side, replicating its composition by using my fingers and various sieves and screens to sift and drop the ashes on the scanner glass. The denser the accumulation of ashes, the brighter the image they recorded. Fine, dust-like particles often appeared as distant stars or gaseous clouds against the background’s inky blackness. I didn’t try to copy the astronomical photographs too faithfully; they served as starting points. I was more interested in the chance-determined relationships that developed from my inability to precisely control the fall of the ashes. It was in the translation from the document that fortuitous things happened.”

Other images in the Galaxies series depended more heavily on computer manipulation, where McDowell selectively blurred areas in an image to alter depth relationships, and in others to create a gaseous or nebulous region.

In Night Skies, McDowell worked sequentially. Each sequence began with ashes spread on the scanner to simulate a star-laden sky. After viewing the first scanned image, he would respond to the arrangement, which was still on the scanner, add more ashes and rescan. He continued adding ashes in this way, producing up to 20 consecutive scans per sequence.

Negative Prints were inspired by the practice of astronomers printing a photograph as a negative to access greater information in the image. By reversing the tonal scale, McDowell was reminded that all of his pictures began with the elemental particle of ash.

In Fragments, he scanned individual pieces of cremated bone. The respective fragment (each less than an inch in length) revealed a particular coloration and architecture depending on the bone’s mineral content, the temperature of the fire, and the crematorium’s grinding of the skeletal remains. These photographs presented the bone fragments in a straightforward manner, much like a forensic or archeological document.

Of  “Ashes in the Night Sky”, McDowell stated, “This work is a meditation on my father’s passing, but also an exploration of the interconnectivity of life on Earth and in the Universe. I’ve read that on a clear night the unaided eye can see five planets, ten thousand stars in the Milky Way, and the glow of three other galaxies. That over one hundred times more stars fill the sky than sand grains on all the beaches of our world. That the nitrogen atoms we breathe on Earth are identical to the nitrogen atoms on Mars. That the laws of physics really are universal.”

Intellectually I know all this and yet, in the everyday, my world is small and my cosmology is shaky. Often, I’m as oblivious to the brilliance of the night sky as I am to those I love. The phase of the moon, the paths of the stars and planets, they move above me unnoticed. And too often, like those I love, I neglect the sun’s warmth and radiance until it’s gone, its light faded to darkness.”

Bill McDowell is the Chair of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Vermont. He has also taught at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Rochester Institute of Technology. McDowell received a M.F.A. in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, and took classes at Visual Studies Workshop.

He is a recipient of the Artist Fellowship in Photography from the New York Foundation on the Arts (NYFA), an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, the Texas Photography Society Grant, as well as several artist research grants from the University of Vermont and Texas A&M-Commerce.

His selected solo exhibitions include Jan Kesner Gallery, in Los Angeles, Houston Center of Photography, Robert  B. Menschel Gallery at Light Work, Kenyon College, St. Lawrence University, and the University of Vermont. His group shows include the Dallas Museum of Art, Blue Sky Gallery, Society for Contemporary Photography, in Kansas City, and the Triennial of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Museum, Hamburg.

His work is represented in collections at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Deichtorhallen Museum, St. Lawrence University, and the University of Vermont.

His photographs have been published in Light Work’s Contact Sheet 96, Art in America, Art Issues, The New Yorker, Spot, and Exposure.

By |June 21st, 2010|Categories: Gallery Shows|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on “Ashes In the Night Sky” exhibition, July 21st, 2010

Gallery Opening, “In Progress”

This Friday, August 5, 2010 we are having an opening reception for “In Process. This show will feature all of Booksmart’s employees work. Included in the show is David Ohl, Mark Nacey, Dylan Knapp, Sean Dyroff and Alex Broderick. Each employee has selected a few pieces to display in Gallery Kunstler.

The reception will be opening from 6-9PM at
Booksmart Studio
250 N. Goodman St.
1st floor
Rochester NY, 14607

Come join us!


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Fine Edition

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