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.


FotoFocus at 10: An Oral History

Posted on December 17, 2020

As FotoFocus celebrates its first decade, we get the behind-the-scenes scoop of how it started—and what the future holds—from eight people who have lived it.

I. Origin Story

TOM SCHIFF, Founder, FotoFocus and CEO, Lightborne: The idea started maybe 12 years ago or so with James Crump, who was the curator of photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum. I mentioned to him that I thought there were never enough photography exhibits in Cincinnati. I thought, If we could have a photography festival in Cincinnati,... Continue


Open Archive: The 2018 Biennial Theme Looks at the Archive in All Its Forms

Posted on October 2, 2018

Archives are both fixed and flexible. An archive is a record, but it can also be an account—a repository of objects that has the additional purpose of being a source of knowledge. And a photographic archive is still more elastic: It’s art, it’s history, it’s politics, it’s thought. Archives can be reorganized, appropriated, or entirely forgotten. They can be everything or nothing at all. This year’s FotoFocus Biennial theme is Open Archive—that is, the literal opening of archives, and also an open interpretation of what archives actually are and what they do. Unlike any other art form, an individual’s experience with photographic archiving is generational. From... Continue

Meet The Curator: Carissa Barnard

Posted on August 30, 2018

When Carissa Barnard was completing her fine arts degree at the University of Arizona, she felt a kinship with photographers as fellow artists. For the 2018 Biennial, Barnard, FotoFocus's Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programming, curates two contrasting shows: Wide Angle: Photography Out of Bounds and Chris Engman: Prospect and Refuge, each exploring a different account of photography’s “realness” and what it means to create a visual document with such a tenuous connection to truth. Chris Engman is known for his photographs of constructed sets. What can we expect from Prospect and Refuge? His practice is to saturate a man-made structure (e.g., a garage) and cover the... Continue