Charles Arnold Lecture Series


The Charles Arnold Lecture Series brings speakers with experience, talent, insight and discovery to the creative and intellectual culture of RIT in honor of Professor Charles Arnold’s contribution to RIT's School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and the world of photography.

About Charles Arnold

Charles Arnold.

Charles "Charlie" Arnold was born and raised in 1922 in Providence, R.I., and served in the Navy during World War II. After working as a museum photographer in Manhattan for a few years, Arnold taught Rhode Island School of Design's first-ever photography course. As the teaching of photography gained more popularity in the 1950s, Arnold was offered a job at the newly opened Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. Two years later, Arnold was offered a job at the School of Photography at RIT, where he would teach for the next 31 years. One of Arnold's major achievements was his pioneering work in xerography as an art form. Arnold traveled extensively throughout his career, teaching and working in locations such as England, Brazil and Spain. Arnold passed away at the age of 89 on Oct. 11, 2011.

Upcoming Speakers

Information about 2022-23 lectures will be available in the fall.

Recent Speakers

A naked woman lays in a bed of flowers.

Odette England

April 7, 2022

Odette England is an artist and writer based in Rhode Island and New York who uses photography, archives and text to explore home, labor, gender and ritual. Her work has been shown in more than 100 museums, galleries and art spaces worldwide. She has published three photo books: Keeper of the Hearth in 2020; Dairy Character, winner of the 2021 Light Work Book Award; and Past Paper Present Marks, her collaboration with Jennifer Garza-Cuen, which received a $5,000 Rauschenberg Publication Grant. Recent awards and fellowships include Light Work, RISCA, Silver Eye, Firecracker, Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman and the Film Photo Award.

Photo by Odette England

David Butow

Feb. 3, 2022

Butow is an accomplished photojournalist whose projects and assignments have taken him to more than two dozen countries including Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Peru, Yemen and Zimbabwe. As Donald Trump took office, Butow felt compelled to move from California to Washington, D.C., to document the events up close. That work turned into BRINK, a book of 104 photographs chronicling politics in the United States during the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration, concluding with the January 2021 insurrection and its aftermath. Jenn Poggi, assistant professor in RIT's School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, served as an editor on the project.

A selection of Butow's photos from BRINK are on view at RIT City Art Space from Feb. 4-20, 2022. Butow and Poggi, curator of the exhibition and editor of the book, led a discussion about the body of work on Feb. 4 at City Art Space. They also appeared on WXXI's "Connections with Evan Dawson" leading up to the opening.

Allison Michael Orenstein

Nov. 18, 2021

Orenstein (also known as A/O) is an award-winning, New York-based portrait photographer. One of her many personal projects, “The Queer Artists Series,” focuses on more than 50 iconic portraits of the thriving queer community in New York City since 2015. She started a new body of work in September 2020, “Women of The Grove: A Lesbian Portrait." This is an ongoing personal project highlighting the legacy of the lesbian community in Cherry Grove, N.Y., which the anthropologist Esther Newton called, “America's first gay and lesbian town.” 

A/O shoots both commercially and editorially. Some her clients include:  Ford, Walgreens, U.S. Bank, Delta, Knoll, Walmart, The New York TimesVanity FairEsquire, Food & Wine, BlackBook, New York MagazineVogueElle, Interview, Artforum, The Guardian, Spin, Real Simple, PeopleThe Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Town & Country.

She has been in several group shows and had a solo exhibition entitled “California” at the College of Art and Design in Wilmington, Del.  A/O has won many competitions and awards over the course of her career. She is a four-time winner of the AI-AP American Photography Competition (2021, 2020, 2015 and 2012); Grand Prize Winner PDN Faces Competition (2016); Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Photography Annual (2015).

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

March 31, 2021

Sepuya is a Los Angeles-based artist working in photography. His work is in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Getty and Guggenheim Museums, LACMA, MoCA Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Museum, among others. His work has been covered in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Art in America, The Nation, and The Guardian, and was featured on the cover of ARTFORUM’s March 2019 issue.

Recent museum exhibitions include those at the Guggenheim Museum, the Barbican Centre, the Getty Museum and a project for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. A survey of work from 2008-18 was presented at CAM St. Louis and University of Houston Blaffer Art Museum, accompanied by a monograph published by CAM St. Louis and Aperture Foundation. He is also acting associate professor in Media Arts at the University of California San Diego. 

Art Streiber

March 17, 2021

Streiber is a Los Angeles-based freelance photographer specializing in portrait, reportage, entertainment and advertising photography. For the last decade, Streiber’s imagery has been selected to appear in American Photography and the Communication Arts Photography Annual. Streiber was introduced to photography in middle school by his grandfather, an avid amateur with his own darkroom. Streiber has a BA in Communications from Stanford University. He is inspired by the great portrait, fashion and documentary photographers of the mid-20th century.

Brian Palmer

Feb. 25, 2021

Palmer is a Richmond, Va.-based journalist, a visiting assistant professor in the Journalism Department at the University of Richmond and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. 

His focus has been illuminating what his collaborator (and wife), Erin Hollaway, has termed “the afterlife of Jim Crow.” We see this legacy of systemic racism (and privilege) in the continued funding of Confederate monuments and sites across the South, even as the Black Lives Matter movement complicates and enriches our collective American narrative — and in the persistent neglect and underfunding of African American sites of memory. 

His award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Smithsonian magazine and on the Root, Buzzfeed, PBS and Reveal. At the end of 2020, the Virginia Quarterly Review awarded him the 2020 VQR Prize for Photography for his portfolio “The Lives of East End,” and he received the Peabody Award, National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award and Online Journalism Award for “Monumental Lies,” a 2018 Reveal radio story about public funding for Confederate sites.

Don Komarechka

Feb. 10, 2021

Komarechka is a nature, macro and landscape photographer located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. From auroras to pollen, insects to infrared, much of his photographic adventures reveal a deeper understanding of how the universe works. Exploring the world that we cannot see with our own eyes has been a common thread in Komarechka's career as a professional photographer.

Always science-minded but never formally trained, Komarechka uses photography as a way to explore and understand the world around him. Photographing something unusual or unknown is the perfect excuse to learn something new. His work often pushes up against the technical limitations of modern camera equipment and the physical limitations of light itself.