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.


Chip Thomas and the Painted Desert Project

Posted on March 12, 2024

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.

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On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith

Posted on May 22, 2023

The works in this exhibition address a range of topics, spanning performance and the body, climate change, power, colonialism and identity, heritage, and territory. Collectively, they portray complex and contested relationships humans have with notions of environment, wilderness, nature, and place. The "line" metaphor is an organizing principle as well as reference to the precarity of this moment: at serious risk; caught, captured; following the path of a line. The exhibition emphasizes photography, in all its forms, as delivering a special charge to document while also grappling with historical expectations, enlarged geographies, and contemporary urgencies. The photographic documentation of various artistic interventions... Continue reading On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith


Ian Strange: Disturbed Home

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Ian Strange: Disturbed Home is a survey of the artist’s architectural interventions, including photographic and filmic interpretations of those structural works. Highlighting projects of the past twelve years and spanning geographies from Strange’s native Australia, to New Zealand, Japan, Poland, and the United States, including Cincinnati, Ohio, Strange’s provocative transformations of damaged or abandoned homes unlock themes of social upheaval and geographic displacement caused by a variety of factors—economic blight, environmental disaster, and social migrations. 

In response to the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial: World Record, Strange is creating a new body of work in Cincinnati, highlighting the effects of environmental... Continue reading Ian Strange: Disturbed Home


Ian Strange: Annex

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As part of Ian Strange’s artist residency at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Strange developed a site-specific installation that offers further dimension to the artist’s longstanding engagement with ideas of home and domestic disturbance. This intervention at the Art Academy Annex complements his SITE 1212 survey exhibition, Ian Strange: Disturbed Home, presenting projects of the past twelve years and includes a new body of work produced in Cincinnati, highlighting the effects of environmental and economic conditions on homes in the region.

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‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory

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‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory considers the historic and contemporary role that photography and film have played in remembering legacies of slavery and its aftermath and examines the social lives of Black Americans within various places including the land, at home, in photographic albums, at historic sites, and in public memory.

This exhibition acknowledges artists’ constant involvement with efforts to explore the possibilities of freedom and their relationship to it. Their quest to be ‘as free as they want to be’ is envisioned in the subject matter they explore as well as in their... Continue reading ‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory