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.

Revival: Digging Into Yesterday, Planting Tomorrow

Posted on April 22, 2024

Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour, a key work in Revival, is a poetic meditation on Frederick Douglass’ life informed by some of the abolitionist’s most important speeches, such as “Lessons of the Hour,” “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?,” and “Lecture on Pictures.” Douglass, the most photographed man of the 19th century, believed in the power of art and technology to shape lives and society. The still image of Douglass, his wife Anna Murray Douglass, and the noted African-American photographer J.P. Ball, Serenade, attests to the importance of the role of representation, in both politics and aesthetics, in... Continue reading Revival: Digging Into Yesterday, Planting Tomorrow

In Pursuit of Empathy

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In Pursuit of Empathy invites sixteen lens-based and mixed-media artists to explore their perceptions of empathy and how their work captures true human connection. This group exhibition features a collection of documentary, narrative, abstract, and conceptual lens-based imagery combined with music.

Artists: Jymi Bolden, Ben Britton, Stacey Dolen, Dorothy Feldis, Tim Harrier, Dee Henry, Jane Hobson, Dave Kempton, Deogracias Lerma, Larry Pytlinski, Mary Barr Rhodes, Craig Rouse, Ann Segal, Brad Smith, Sue Wilke, J. Miles Wolf

Continue reading In Pursuit of Empathy

Glenna Jennings: Sit Down!

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Sit Down! presents new works by Glenna Jennings with, around, and about food. The tables of Jennings’ youth were compact, plastic, and single-serve, meant to be folded and put away, then reassembled in time for dinner and prime time television. The family table came with a leaf to fit guests during holiday feasts, but Jennings and her single, working mom more often operated within an archive of frozen dinners. 

The ongoing photographic series, At Table, arose from a desire to add people to these tables and cultivate relationships across cultures and borders. Sit Down! uses images and artifacts made... Continue reading Glenna Jennings: Sit Down!

Amber N. Ford: The Roads Most Traveled

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From cornrows to locs, Black hair is rooted in identity and culture. Within a specific part of history, hair could indicate a person’s tribe, social position, marital status, or occupation. Later, hairstyles told stories of bravery by creating pathways to freedom, using patterns and techniques to relay messages and routes in order to escape in the face of inconceivable duress. Through her work, artist Amber N. Ford explores the importance that hair holds culturally and personally.

This project began as a form of preservation, documenting deconstructed and revised protective hairstyles to remember what was... Continue reading Amber N. Ford: The Roads Most Traveled

Depth of Field: The Universe of the Daguerreotype

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Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter's 1848 Cincinnati Riverfront Panorama is both an iconic image and scientific marvel. The human stories within the daguerreotype still live and reveal themselves anew with each fresh dive into city directories, newspaper articles, and historical archives. Through the lens of microscopes, ever-evolving in strength and precision, viewers can witness the ongoing chemical processes on daguerreotype plates. Images from these microscopes reveal how a combination of elements, introduced in the initial development process over 170 years ago, continue to engage and interact with the environment.

This project aids in the understanding of deterioration of... Continue reading Depth of Field: The Universe of the Daguerreotype