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.

Southern Democratic

Posted on March 12, 2024

In October of 1976, William Eggleston went to Plains, Georgia on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine. Tasked with documenting the birthplace of Jimmy Carter, then the Democratic candidate for president, just weeks before the election, Eggleston used this project to further establish his uncompromising style: observational and democratic in nature, banal to the point of rigid and beautiful clarity.

The resulting images never appeared in the magazine but were later published as Election Eve, a collection of 100 original prints in two leather bound volumes, housed in a linen box and limited to five editions. Eggleston’s documentation of the South is decidedly... Continue reading Southern Democratic

Chip Thomas and the Painted Desert Project

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Chip Thomas is an American photographer, public artist, activist, and physician living in Arizona. In 1987, he moved to the Navajo Nation, between Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, to work as a physician. Simultaneously, he began photographing the Navajo people (Diné) and maintained a darkroom to develop his work. Soon after his arrival in Arizona, Thomas carried out a billboard “correction” on the Navajo reservation, replacing the word “Pepsi” with “Diabetes” in the phrase “Welcome to Pepsi Country,” in an effort to call out the effects of American capitalism on the landscape and the people of his new community.

Continue reading Chip Thomas and the Painted Desert Project

Memory Fields

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Memory Fields explores the nuances of memory and its uncanny ability to transport culture, traditions, rituals, and feelings through space and time. Oscillating between place and placelessness, seven artists of diverse cultural backgrounds present a series of actions, systems, and moments that are influenced by regional, national, and transnational experiences.Memories contain stories that are potent, bodily, and felt. They have the potential to conjure joy, grief, and nostalgia, with its residue carrying through time. Memory is malleable, from a recollection of events to something more ambiguous, such as the sensation of familiarity or longing. It is selective, often reimagined, and flawed. Memories are... Continue reading Memory Fields

Ming Smith: Transcendence

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Transcendence features the entirety of Ming Smith’s remarkable series for the first time. Through this exhibition, the Columbus Museum of Art offers a rare opportunity to delve into Smith's identity as an artist deeply rooted in the diverse fabric of Columbus, OH.

Smith's lens intricately weaves together the cultural tapestry of Columbus, showcasing the influences of luminaries such as Nancy Wilson, Aminah Robinson, Toyce Anderson, Toni Morrison, and Linda Goode Bryant. Her narrative unfolds against familiar backdrops, from Carl Brown's IGA Foodliner store on Mt. Vernon Avenue to Dr. Tyler's drugstore on the east side, resonating with personal memories... Continue reading Ming Smith: Transcendence

Barbara Probst: Subjective Evidence

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Barbara Probst is a German photographer living between Munich and New York. In 2000, she began taking multiple images of actors in a single scene, shot simultaneously with several cameras via a radio-controlled system. The resulting series convey a complex, playful, and darkly cinematic vision of people in time and space.

Probst’s works span photographic genres: landscape, still life, fashion, portraiture, and street photography. Her multi-perspective approach results in quasi-three-dimensional views of her subjects while activating philosophical problems around the question of optical authority: what is visual truth when multiple perspectives are in play? Does more visual data result... Continue reading Barbara Probst: Subjective Evidence