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The Lens is the FotoFocus editorial platform, highlighting our programming and featuring in-depth conversations on photography and the moving image drawn from perspectives and insights in our community, throughout our region, and around the globe.


Why We Cancelled the 2020 FotoFocus Biennial and Dispersed its $800,000 Budget as Arts Grants

By Mary Ellen Goeke, FotoFocus Executive Director & Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator

Posted on May 13, 2020

Originally published on April 30, 2020, in The Art Newspaper, Mary Ellen Goeke, FotoFocus Executive Director, and Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator, discuss why, as the coronavirus pandemic raised concerns about the FotoFocus Biennial's 10th anniversary plans, the organization decided to cancel the event and use the funds to support the local arts community instead.

A recent New Yorker cartoon shows a building façade with windows full of self-isolated children, and one of them saying: “Remember, when we get back outside, it’s still the top of the fifth.... Continue


FotoFocus Pledges 2020 Biennial Budget to Emergency Art Grant

Posted on April 28, 2020

FotoFocus announces today that in lieu of presenting the fifth FotoFocus Biennial, originally slated for October 2020, it will pledge its Biennial budget to financially support the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio art communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

FotoFocus will grant an immediate and unrestricted $800,000 to over 100 Participating Venues and Partners that were selected to present as part of the 2020 FotoFocus Biennial. These collaborators work every other year towards making the FotoFocus Biennial a success, including 8 of the regions most prestigious arts venues: Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art, Wave Pool, and... Continue


Exploring Light and Its Contrasts

Posted on May 10, 2019

On April 28th FotoFocus announced that in lieu of presenting the fifth FotoFocus Biennial, originally slated for October 2020, it pledged its Biennial budget to financially support the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio art communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

FotoFocus gave an emergency art grant in the amount of $800,000 to over 100 Participating Venues and Partners that were selected to present as part of the 2020 FotoFocus Biennial.

The next FotoFocus Biennial will take place in October 2022 with a new theme. The Program Week is scheduled for Friday, October 1 –... Continue


The Biennial in Book Form: Three Volumes to Add to Your Shelves

Posted on October 30, 2018

The 2018 Biennial theme Open Archive sparks a multitude of thoughts and inspiration. Behind each curated show, featured photograph, and careful performance lie layers of narrative and woven experience, charged with texture and intertextuality. Which is why exploring the material behind this year’s exhibitions only adds to the intrigue—and the richness of the conversation.

Modular and multifaceted, the two-volume catalog No Two Alike: Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff invites audiences to compare the three aforementioned artists in an open, flexible format. It juxtaposes the work of one of the most celebrated contemporary artists, the German photographer Thomas Ruff (b. 1958), with two important photographers... Continue


FotoFocus Goes to College, or: Building Engagement with Photography by Collaborating With Higher Ed

Posted on October 25, 2018

Last week, three artists from the exhibition “Past as Present: Capturing and Archiving the Female Experience” headlined its opening reception. The event offered the pleasures one would expect from a FotoFocus-affiliated production: astonishing art, tasty refreshments, and a lively panel discussion featuring the artists themselves. But there was one twist. The event didn’t occur at the Contemporary Arts Center or a similar venue. Instead, it took place in the heart of the University of Cincinnati’s Clifton campus, at the DAAP Reed Gallery. FotoFocus has cultivated a rich relationship with higher education, even if that relationship sometimes gets overlooked. “Consistently, since the first Biennial in 2012,”... Continue