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.


Photographs Are the Monuments of Our Online Visual Culture

By Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator

Posted on July 14, 2020

Originally published on July 11, 2020 by The Art Newspaper, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore asks which photographs will ascend to a more permanent station in today’s social imagination.

Monuments have taken a beating this past week—traditional monuments, that is, statues of what you might call failed white male conquerors, so prevalent in the lingering Confederate South. Shortly after the current occupant of the White House gave a speech at Mount Rushmore on 3 July, protestors in Baltimore pulled down a Christopher Columbus... Continue


Why Some Photographs Transcend the Moment in Which They Were Taken and Transform Movements Into Icons

By Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator

Posted on June 11, 2020

Originally published on June 11, 2020 by Artnet, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore discusses why certain images stemming from the unrest in the U.S. are sure to be remembered in years to come.

The best historic photographs don’t just document events but carry a residue of the mood. Some even become an emblem of a cause—they become iconic.

Elaine Mayes’s photographs of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, for example, taken on assignment for... Continue


The Biennial in Book Form: Three Volumes to Add to Your Shelves

Posted on October 30, 2018

The 2018 Biennial theme Open Archive sparks a multitude of thoughts and inspiration. Behind each curated show, featured photograph, and careful performance lie layers of narrative and woven experience, charged with texture and intertextuality. Which is why exploring the material behind this year’s exhibitions only adds to the intrigue—and the richness of the conversation.

Modular and multifaceted, the two-volume catalog No Two Alike: Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff invites audiences to compare the three aforementioned artists in an open, flexible format. It juxtaposes the work of one of the most celebrated contemporary artists, the German photographer Thomas Ruff (b. 1958), with two important photographers... 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

Gillian Wearing World Premieres Four Works at Cincinnati Art Musuem for FotoFocus 2018

Posted on September 15, 2018

Nathaniel Stein has admired contemporary conceptual artist Gillian Wearing’s work since he first saw her poignant, genre-bending photographs in an Introduction to Art History class in the mid-1990s. He’s dreamed of working with her for as long as he’s been a museum curator. Now, after a year as Associate Curator of Photography for the Cincinnati Art Museum, he has his chance.

And we, those of us who’ll experience the 2018 FotoFocus Biennial, will have our chance to encounter the British artist’s internationally recognized and often jarring self-portraits and video installations in the first major exhibition of her work to be shown in the... Continue