1997 ALYFR0089 Still.300, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Francis Alÿs, Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Doing Something Leads to Nothing), Mexico City, 1997. Video documentation of an action, 5 min. © Francis Alÿs. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

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Coming Soon: A Double Feature of Major FotoFocus Programming in 2022

Posted on December 16, 2021

All of the pandemic pivoting of the past two years means big things — like a FotoFocus Symposium and a FotoFocus Biennial — in the new year. Get the scoop here, and get excited for future you.

FotoFocus Symposium: Telephotography

2021 Symposium FotoFocus Org The Lens Blog, FotoFocus Cincinnati

Originally scheduled for October 2021, Delta had other plans for this Symposium. As the variant picked up pace, FotoFocus rescheduled Telephotography for April 9 & 10, 2022.

“It’s about connectivity, and it’s about bringing things closer in a psychological way — preserving things, keeping things. It’s an essential, impossible request we make of photography: asking it to make the dead live forever, and to give us connection to people who are far away,” FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore told The Lens. “For me, that is the middle of the two definitions [of telephotography]: the literal, technological zooming in, bringing things closer, but also this idea of being connected to other people. It’s about the emotional aspect of what photography tries to satisfy.”

But an event around telephotography — you may wonder — why not host it virtually? ‘Twas considered, of course. “While the theme is meant to explore remote communication through photographic technologies, as we have all been doing regularly since the onset of the pandemic, FotoFocus has always been about meeting in person and sharing a very basic and human experience of idea exchange,” said Moore. “Converting the entire symposium, or even a significant percentage, to a virtual format was not really an option.”

As far as what April has in store: Saturday will be packed with panels and conversations at Memorial Hall (and food, FotoFocus will always feed its people well). Sunday will be something of an afternoon film festival, with several film shorts, a panel discussion, and a feature film.

Saturday’s panels and presentations will address nineteenth-century scientific photography’s attempts to capture the unseeable; early press photography and wirephoto services; artists making exhibitions in remote locations designed to be experienced through transmitted imagery; the ways filmmakers use their medium to tell private and public histories; telephotography’s impact on architecture and office design; artists whose work focuses on dis/connection; and the fierce competition among photojournalists to deliver breaking news from sites of conflict.

Mark your calendars now, and get ready for an April shower of ideas and brilliant panelists (below).

Read our conversation with Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore about the thought behind Telephotography, and the real-world implications of telephotography — past, present, and future.

2022 FotoFocus Biennial:
World Record

2022 Biennial FotoFocus Org The Lens Blog, FotoFocus Cincinnati

Come October, the sixth edition of the FotoFocus Biennial will take the stage. Or stages, plural, as it will activate museums, galleries, universities, and public spaces throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky,​ ​Dayton,​ and​ Columbus, Ohio, for the entire month — with a concentrated week of programming October 1–8.

The Biennial’s theme, World Record, considers film and photography’s extensive record of life on earth, while exploring humankind’s impact on the natural world and the choices — for ill or good — we now face as a global community. World Record also refers to records, as in breaking records. World records have traditionally been thought of positively as records of quantifiable human achievement, but records have come to be associated increasingly with the extremes of the natural world.

Much more will be announced in the spring, but for now, take an anticipatory gander below at the exhibitions, artists, and guest curators the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record has in store.

Mattingly Pull Scaled, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Mary Mattingly, Pull, 2013. C-print, 30 x 30 inches. © Mary Mattingly. Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery

FotoFocus Curated Projects

Solo Exhibitions

— An exhibition by New York-based artist Baseera Khan at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, co-curated by Amara Antilla (Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati) and Ylinka Barotto (Associate Curator at the Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University). In their work, Khan sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future.

— A show by New York-based artist Tony Oursler, co-curated by the artist and Kevin Moore (FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator). Oursler’s work, rooted in the media of painting and film, hearkens back to the media’s past while looking forward to the fully networked, digitally assisted future of image and identity production.

— A large-scale, public, site-specific artwork by Australian transdisciplinary artist Ian Strange, curated by Kevin Moore (FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator). Strange explores architecture, space, and the home in his work.

— A multi-site, experiential public video installation by artist Liz Roberts, curated by Carissa Barnard (FotoFocus Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programming). Roberts uses moving image and sound to recreate the cinematic experience of the open road—revealing a collective fear and false sense of security along the journey.

Group Exhibitions

— On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith, a group exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center co-curated by Makeda Best (Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums) and Kevin Moore (FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator). Focusing on performance and climate, the exhibition comprises a diverse group of artists centered geographically in the Americas.

Images on which to build, a group show at the Contemporary Arts Center curated by writer and independent curator Ariel Goldberg, presents a range of photographic practices, from slideshows to archiving, to understand spaces for learning within LGBTQ and feminist grassroots activism of the 1970s–1990s. 

— A special collaborative project curated by Matt Distel (Exhibitions Director for The Carnegie, Covington, KY). A Cincinnati native, Distel will develop an exhibition at The Carnegie focused on artists from the region, in collaboration with outside partners.


Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator

Carissa Barnard, FotoFocus Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programming

Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH

Ylinka Barotto, Associate Curator at the Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, TX

Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

Matt Distel, Exhibitions Director for The Carnegie, Covington, KY

Ariel Goldberg, Writer and Independent Curator, New York, NY

Tony Oursler, Multimedia Artist, New York, NY

All we can say is: Happy new year, indeed.