The 2021 FotoFocus Symposium: Telephotography, originally scheduled for October 9–10, 2021, is rescheduled for April 9–10, 2022.

The FotoFocus Symposium: Telephotography will feature lectures and panel discussions from international artists, curators, photojournalists, and educators on Saturday, April 9, 2021 and a new daytime Film Program that features film screenings and conversations with filmmakers on Sunday, April 10, 2021. The FotoFocus Symposium  will be held in-person at Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall and The Garfield Theatre, and is free and open to the public. The full schedule and complete list of participants will be announced in early 2022.

About the Theme

From the earliest transmissions of photographs to today’s ubiquitous information sharing online, telephotography has become so central to contemporary life it is hard to imagine communications without it. The FotoFocus Symposium will explore both the electronic circulation of photographs and the technique of photographing distant objects. Whether through personal photographs, press images, or military surveillance, Telephotography will explore our desire for closeness and the ways we bring things nearer to us through photographs.

Panels and presentations will address nineteenth-century scientific photography’s attempts to capture the unseeable; early press photography and wirephoto services; artists making exhibitions in remote locations designed to be experienced through transmitted imagery; the ways filmmakers use their medium to tell private and public histories; telephotography’s impact on architecture and office design; artists whose work focuses on dis/connection; and the fierce competition among photojournalists to deliver breaking news from sites of conflict.

Speakers include Corey Keller, independent curator formerly with SFMOMA, where she curated Dawoud Bey: An American Project (2020) and Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible, 1840–1900 (2008); Jason Hill, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware and author of Artist as Reporter: Weegee, Ad Reinhardt, and the PM News Picture (2018); artist Kevin Schmidt, who transformed an abandoned homestead in remote Western Canada into EDM House, an “everyday performance” (2014); artist Moyra Davey, Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the Scotiabank Prize; Dieu-Nalio Chery and Rebecca Blackwell, The Associated Press photojournalists and last year’s Pulitzer Prize finalists for their work in Haiti; and design consultant David van der Leer, who pioneered the Guggenheim Museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies program.

About the Speakers

Corey Keller is an independent curator and scholar of the history of photography based in Oakland, California. She recently stepped down as curator of photography and acting head of the Photography Department at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where she was a member of the curatorial team from 2003 to 2021. During her tenure, she organized numerous exhibitions, including Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis, which highlights seven Bay Area artists’ responses to the crises of 2020. Recent writing projects include an essay on Imogen Cunningham’s portrait of painter David Park (SFMOMA, 2020); and entries on early women photographers in California (Une histoire des femmes photographes mondiale, 2020). She is currently at work on essays about Wright Morris, Anna Atkins, and the photo collective Rolls and Tubes.

Jason Hill is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Artist as Reporter: Weegee, Ad Reinhardt, and the PM News Picture (2018) and the co-editor, with Vanessa R. Schwartz, of Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News (2015). With Zeynep Gursel, Jason is presently co-editing a forthcoming special double-issue of the journal History of Photography on photography’s global entanglements with policing. His current book project considers the force of police radio in the visual culture of the United States. 

Kevin Schmidt lives and works between lands stewarded by the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples (now known as the city of Toronto) and the unceded territory of the Secwepemc (now known as Heffley Creek, BC). His works often conflate and displace, providing new ways to examine genres such as landscape, “how-to” instruction, or museum display. Schmidt’s recent solo exhibitions include 2018’s We Are the Robots at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Reckless, a public art installation on the exterior of The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver. In 2014 his work was included in the Montreal and SITE Santa Fe Biennials. In 2017 he received the Canada Council for the Arts’ 2017 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award. 

Moyra Davey is a New York-based artist whose work comprises the fields of photography, film and writing. She is the author of Index Cards, Burn the Diaries, and The Problem of Reading, and editor of Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood. The Shabbiness of Beauty, a book of photographs by Peter Hujar and Davey, with a text by Eileen Myles was published in 2021. Davey’s work is held in major public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Tate Modern in London. She is a 2020 recipient of the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

David van der Leer is a forecaster, educator, moderator, researcher, strategist, and writer. David’s passion is reinventing the institutions and public spaces of yesterday—and dreaming up the most inspirational institutions of tomorrow—through excellent design and interdisciplinary programs. David founded DVDL in 2018 after having worked and consulted with institutions, government agencies, corporations, and individuals for 15 years.

Dieu-Nalio Chery, born in Haiti, was interested in photography from a young age. He decided to pursue a career in photojournalism after witnessing the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, when the country saw an increase of all major categories of crimes and Chery saw how the authorities treated the victims without any respect for their rights. In 2011, he was selected for a full-scholarship photojournalism workshop in Argentina with Foundry Photojournalism. He joined The Associated Press in 2010, and, along with Rebecca Blackwell, was a 2020 Pulitzer finalist for the breaking news photography award for his coverage of violent clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in Haiti.

Rebecca Blackwell is an Associated Press photojournalist now based in Miami after 17 years of working in West Africa and Central America. Her work covers a wide range of subjects, including social issues, natural disasters, civil unrest, and major sporting events. She has received recognition for her reporting on Central American migrants’ dangerous journey north through Mexico, a civil conflict in Ivory Coast, and violent clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in Haiti, for which she was named a 2020 Pulitzer finalist for breaking news photography along with Dieu-Nalio Chery.

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