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.

Deeply Rooted

Posted on April 22, 2024

Curated by students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Deeply Rooted highlights artists Vikesh Kapoor, Tomiko Jones, and André Ramos-Woodard, telling multi-generational stories of traditions. In the exhibition, memory is explored through cultural and familial experiences from different perspectives. Intergenerational aspects of intimate spaces, objects, and portraiture are showcased in vernacular, film, and digital photography.Kapoor is invited to serve as guest judge for the Art Academy’s Chidlaw Gallery show, Student Reflections, which will present selected artwork by AAC students.

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Inhabited: Stories of the Past

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Inhabited: Stories of the Past is a photo-based mural weaving together the narratives of people and place, using a building as its canvas and inspiration. This mural seamlessly integrates archival and contemporary images, capturing the essence of individuals connected to the building's rich history. The fusion of artist-captured perspectives, archival photographs, and community submissions within the mural creates a compelling visual narrative that transcends time, unveiling often-overlooked facets of history. Collected stories from submitted photographs enrich the project, adding layers of depth and context.

Lead artist, Erika NJ Allen, believes the mural is more... Continue reading Inhabited: Stories of the Past


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Chiaroscuro invites viewers to explore the power of contrasts. Guided by Artists-in-Residence Romain Mayambi and Leo Thiam, a group of gallery fellows, ages 16–24, embark on a transformative exploration of light and dark, drawing inspiration from personal experiences with literal and metaphorical chiaroscuro. Through this experience, fellows master the technical aspects of photography—camera settings, composition, lighting, and color theory—as well as delve into the art of storytelling through directing, location scouting, and creating visually compelling narratives. 

Mayambi’s and Thiam's unique backgrounds shape their teaching approach, encouraging fellows to translate their own experiences through chiaroscuro.... Continue reading Chiaroscuro

Silas Long: interior ruin

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Silas Long's interior ruin delves into the interplay between technology, anxiety, and modern existence that captures the feeling of navigating life in the digital age. The exhibition invites contemplation of our perception of reality amidst commercial saturation and global instability. Through digital printing techniques, Long’s flattened surfaces create a collage-like effect that muddles the image’s material presence. Their collection of digital clips and textures are indicative of a visual world that the artist explores to interpret the profound impact technology has on the emotional psyche.

Silas Long's meticulously layered compositions of flattened textures... Continue reading Silas Long: interior ruin

Mark Schlachter: Familiar Faces

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Familiar Faces is a "fauxtodocumentary" project that endeavors to share the hidden stories of a one-of-a-kind, diverse community nestled in Indiana somewhere between El Dorado and Brigadoon. Each "fauxto" is an aperture into a world few have seen and only truly understood through the artful eye of its "fauxtographer," Mark Schlachter. His keen eye for "fauxtography" has captured the unknown and unseen realities of a community both diverse and equitable, yet somehow lost just beyond the veil.

This project seeks to bring this community out of the darkroom of the mind into the... Continue reading Mark Schlachter: Familiar Faces