Photo by Jacob Drabik

The Lens

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.


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Making a Scene: “Return to the Velvet Rope” Takes Us Inside Club Clau, OTR’s Early-Aughts Hot Spot

Posted on September 30, 2021

Lesser known in the annals of Cincinnati history is that, fresh into the Y2K era, OTR was briefly home to a celebrity-circuit nightclub: Club Clau. The comings and goings were documented by the club's art director with a cheap black-and-white camera, and a selection of images are now on display at The Annex Gallery.

It was 2003 and Over-the-Rhine was having a moment, thanks to the newly minted Club Clau nightclub. “We were open for nine weeks, and on the front page... Continue


“These Photographs are Fake!” On View at Clay Street Press

Posted on September 22, 2021

Deception and misdirection and falsehoods, oh my. Through October 23, see work from the early 1900s to 2014 that may just make you question everything.

At its inception, photography was a medium that connoted truth: Light reflecting reality onto film and then the page. And long before photographs were manipulated and falsified for nefarious reasons, artists used the medium for deception in a more playful — if still often pointed — way. Which is where we find ourselves at the Clay Street Press exhibition opening... Continue


Four Lens-Based Shows To See This Fall

Posted on September 1, 2021

The idea of fall arts seasons may feel like a hazy dream from another lifetime, but take heart, dear Queen City: There are several exhibitions in the region you won't want to miss this fall — listed in order of closing date.

RESIDUE, The Carnegie

A group show curated by Maria Seda Reeder, RESIDUE considers the relationship between art and audience — and how that engagement intertwines with, and changes, the work. Or in their words: "While artists act to create... Continue


Far and Wide: Casey LeClair’s “Seven Cities” at Iris BookCafé and Gallery

Posted on August 24, 2021

On view through October 29, Casey LeClair describes the exhibition as "part retrospective and part greatest hits."

For Iris BookCafé and Gallery exhibition curator Bill Messer, there was something uniquely evocative about Casey LeClair’s photography. The artist hails from Cincinnati but has spent the last 25 years traveling the world from California to New York to Sweden and points in between. This year, LeClair found himself back in Cincinnati, and his work crossed Messer’s desk. 

“I had pretty much retired ,” Messer says. “This work... Continue


The Fabric of our Lives

Posted on April 15, 2021

Opening May 15, Weston Art Gallery exhibits Material Message: Photographs of Fabric.

We’re surrounded by it, but we hardly give it a second thought: Fabric literally covers our bodies and homes, and it can change, represent, and even help create our identities. To explore this relationship, the Weston Art Gallery is showing photographs and other works, curated by Mount Vernon–based photographer Marcella Hackbardt, beginning May 15. The exhibition title, Material Message, hints at the show’s thesis: That fabric communicates meaning in our shared lives, for... Continue