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.

Hunting Island

Posted on April 22, 2024

Late in 2020, as the pandemic raged, Matthew Shelton escaped his home in Chicago for three weeks and visited South Carolina’s low-country coastal area near Beaufort. This was a uniquely personal experience, as the artist had lived near this area in childhood and had rarely returned. Multiple visits were made to Hunting Island State Park, a place more renowned for its wild forests and dramatically shifting coastline than its beaches. 

Stairways that once led to the beach are buried now, with occasional traces showing up through the sand. Cabins that were fully functional 30 years ago are now ruins,... Continue reading Hunting Island

Gee Horton: Chapter 2, A Subtle Farewell to the Inner Child

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Chapter 2, A Subtle Farewell to the Inner Child, Gee Horton's second solo exhibition, delves into the artist's exploration of the inner child. Weaving together personal narratives and collective experiences, this exhibition invites visitors to embark on voyages of healing and self-discovery.

Inspired by a soul-stirring pilgrimage to Senegal, Horton's journey commences with a "spiritual cowrie shell reading," unveiling his father's ailing health. This revelation sparks a cathartic quest, enabling Horton to confront childhood traumas and mend fractured bonds. The artist's individual life experience is juxtaposed with the collective narrative of six middle-aged... Continue reading Gee Horton: Chapter 2, A Subtle Farewell to the Inner Child

Judi Bommarito: Reclaiming Your Outside Voice

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Judi Bommarito’s Reclaiming Your Outside Voice is a photographic journey that intimately explores the relationship between a daughter and her mother shaped by the challenges of mental illness. This evocative collection captures the transformative power of photography as a catalyst for healing and understanding. Intricately woven into this visual narrative are the notes her mother leaves behind, like breadcrumbs of emotion, for Bommarito to discover. These handwritten messages form an intimate dialogue, offering insights into her mother’s inner world, her desires, and her struggles. The notes become a poignant manifestation of their emotional connection, transcending the confines of mental illness and... Continue reading Judi Bommarito: Reclaiming Your Outside Voice

ImageOhio: Undercurrents

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The open call for Undercurrents asks Ohio artists to bring their perspectives to the forefront as they delve into their unique experiences as lens-based creatives. Responding to three questions—Why do you use lens-based media? What is hidden within your work? What are the undercurrents that unite Ohio lens-based artists?—the artists are asked to unearth the histories that helped shape them. Through this group exhibition, ROY G BIV continues to champion emerging artists by providing a platform to increase the public's awareness of their work and creating a space to celebrate and highlight lens-based artwork.

Continue reading ImageOhio: Undercurrents

Jo Whaley: The Theater of Nature

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The Theater of Nature presents an enchanting assemblage of locally loaned insects and photographs by the New Mexico-based artist Jo Whaley. A former scenic artist, Whaley’s theatrical background translates into her work: each specimen is composed as if performing in a fantastical production, each photograph like the climax of a thrilling play.

The dramatic scene of a Papilio ulysses butterfly with its intense blue wings outstretched against an earthy yet indiscernible landscape inspires a pause, a moment to consider the world in which the insect once existed and might again. Moths, butterflies, and beetles... Continue reading Jo Whaley: The Theater of Nature