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.

Discovering Ansel Adams

Posted on March 12, 2024

Discovering Ansel Adams provides unprecedented insight into the early career of Ansel Adams (1902–1984), demonstrating how, between 1916 and the 1940s, Adams developed from a 14-year-old tourist with a camera into America’s most celebrated photographer. Drawn from the definitive Adams collection at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) in Tucson, AZ, the exhibition brings together approximately 80 virtuosic photographs with unique archival objects, including the artist’s handwritten correspondence, snapshots, personal possessions, and photographic working materials. Featured works range from small, one-of-a-kind photographs from Adams’ teenage years to jaw-dropping mural-sized prints of his most famous mature views. Viewers join the artist on his journey... Continue reading Discovering Ansel Adams

Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Traces of Ecstasy

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Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Traces of Ecstasy is the first comprehensive museum presentation of Nigerian-British photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989). A prolific artist, Fani-Kayode negotiated his outsider status along multiple axes, balancing his heritage as scion of a prominent Nigerian family—one closely aligned with the Yoruba priesthood, yet living in exile—with the exploration of his own queer sexuality. Embracing the camera as a means of reconciling these disparate facets of his identity, he generated a remarkable body of images over the course of a career cut tragically short by his untimely death in 1989 at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Largely ignored during his lifetime,... Continue reading Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Traces of Ecstasy

Chip Thomas and the Painted Desert Project

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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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Ming Smith: Transcendence

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Transcendence features the entirety of Ming Smith’s remarkable series for the first time. Through this exhibition, the Columbus Museum of Art offers a rare opportunity to delve into Smith's identity as an artist deeply rooted in the diverse fabric of Columbus, OH.

Smith's lens intricately weaves together the cultural tapestry of Columbus, showcasing the influences of luminaries such as Nancy Wilson, Aminah Robinson, Toyce Anderson, Toni Morrison, and Linda Goode Bryant. Her narrative unfolds against familiar backdrops, from Carl Brown's IGA Foodliner store on Mt. Vernon Avenue to Dr. Tyler's drugstore on the east side, resonating with personal memories... Continue reading Ming Smith: Transcendence

Barbara Probst: Subjective Evidence

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Barbara Probst is a German photographer living between Munich and New York. In 2000, she began taking multiple images of actors in a single scene, shot simultaneously with several cameras via a radio-controlled system. The resulting series convey a complex, playful, and darkly cinematic vision of people in time and space.

Probst’s works span photographic genres: landscape, still life, fashion, portraiture, and street photography. Her multi-perspective approach results in quasi-three-dimensional views of her subjects while activating philosophical problems around the question of optical authority: what is visual truth when multiple perspectives are in play? Does more visual data result... Continue reading Barbara Probst: Subjective Evidence