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.


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


‘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


Tony Oursler: Crossing Neptune

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Water remains our most elemental unknown. It is a trans-cultural and historical symbol of mythologies ranging from childbirth, miracles, purification and healing rituals, to mysterious sea creatures, falling icicles, and invisible toxins. Belief in water is strong and its powers both benevolent and deadly. Water can wash away sins, cure disease, and offer eternal youth. Or it can harbor “blobsters,” freeze explorers, and swamp cities, depending on the teller and the listener, the fraudster and the rube.

Crossing Neptune is an exhibition featuring archival works on the theme of water from the personal collection of artist Tony Oursler—photographs, mostly... Continue reading Tony Oursler: Crossing Neptune


New Tides

Posted on March 22, 2022

This exhibition highlights works concerned with the ebb and flow of social, political, and artistic trends and how these tropes and themes can return with differing focus and intensity. Presenting the swell of ideas, explorations, and concerns of emerging photographers from within the Midwest, the exhibition demonstrates how they see, process, and contextualize the recurrence and reemergence of social, political, and artistic trends in their own practices that establishes a new World Record. This exhibition serves as an artistic interpretation of world events/records from the perspective of emerging artists from across the Midwest. New Tides Continue reading New Tides

Refuge: Needing, Seeking, Creating Shelter

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Refuge: Needing, Seeking, Creating Shelter is a look at civil strife, economic insecurity, and proliferating environmental crises, as artists from across the globe explore the search for refuge—how, why, and where people need, seek, and create shelter. The technologies of transport have long determined the movement of people and goods, fueling the expansion of empire and capital, the displacement of communities and resources, the shapes of borders. As the global refugee crisis continues, ensuring universal access to human rights in a world where, as poet Amit Majmudar says, “There’s no America to sail to anymore,” will require seismic changes—changes potentially... Continue reading Refuge: Needing, Seeking, Creating Shelter