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.


Through A Stranger’s Eyes

Posted on April 22, 2024

An extension of Bridges Not Walls, an arts and culture exchange program, Through A Stranger’s Eyes brings together two Cuban and two American artists who met in Havana, Cuba, in 2017. The exhibition includes photographs and narrative components of the Cubans’ journey to the United States and the Americans’ impression of Havana after dozens of trips and thousands of photographs taken during their visits. From the perspective of the Americans, M. Katherine Hurley and Jens Rosenkrantz Jr., Cuba is a time capsule of the 1950s with old cars, crumbling buildings, empty shelves, and long lines. Having relocated to the United States,... Continue reading Through A Stranger’s Eyes


What Came Before

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What Came Before is an open call exhibition where nascent artists in the Cincinnati area feature photographs that capture their origin stories. In examining what forces shape their personal development, selected photographers demonstrate the ebb and flow of cause and effect. Glimpses of the past provide insight into the present, illustrating the nebulous notion of “self,” which is constantly being constructed, deconstructed, and then reconstructed. What Came Before is designed to facilitate collaboration between young creatives in the Cincinnati area.

Curator: Sharee Allen, Adjunct Professor of Photography

Continue reading What Came Before

Images from Storytellers

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Every gathering of people has a backstory. Images from Storytellers features a mixture of unchoreographed and staged photographic records from gatherings that reveal differing perspectives and relationships between photographer and subject. The works are created from various vantage points that do not necessarily feature the main event, but instead a necessary backstory. Photographers often capture moments that represent these alternate ideas, in spite of knowing these are not the desired images, believing they are key moments that must exist to capture the interaction, behavior, and emotion of those involved.

Artists: Gregory Changa Freeman, Susanne Conyers, Shon Curtis, Alfred Powell,... Continue reading Images from Storytellers


Cultural Exchange:: Who is American Today?

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This exhibition showcases video work created as part of the ongoing research project Who Is American Today?, which investigates how high school students understand citizenship. The study’s premise is to enable student voice through digital tools by asking more than 100 students across the country to create a short video responding to the question, “Who is American today?” Exploring issues of personal and national identity, this exhibition showcases student narratives over a seven-year period. Connecting creativity and democracy, students are invited to reflect upon experiences in their own communities and on their perceived status as citizens. Viewers can experience different points of... Continue reading Cultural Exchange:: Who is American Today?


Posteriors: Sitters’ Backs in 19th-Century Photography

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The variety of posterior imagery in the late Victorian era is astonishing. Women showcase luxurious long locks and fashionable dresses, while men in briefs flaunt extensive tattoos and muscles. Pairs and trios of homosocial friends, as well as heterosexual couples, link elbows or wrap arms around each other’s waists. Toddlers hug draped studio chairs, get weighed, and wear matching gingham clothing. Double exposures reveal babies’ faces and backs of heads in the same image. Paired prints and double-sided cabinet cards present frontal portraits with matching back portraits. Pictures within pictures depict sitters gazing at photos or in mirrors. A woman bent... Continue reading Posteriors: Sitters’ Backs in 19th-Century Photography