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


Meet the Curator: Kevin Moore

Posted on September 4, 2018

New York-based Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore brings two exciting—and distinctive—odes on photography to FotoFocus this year: Paris to New York: Photographs by Eugène Atget and Bernice Abbott, which exhibits at Taft Museum of Art, and Mamma Andersson: Memory Banks at the Contemporary Arts Center. In Paris to New York, Moore explores the relationship between American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898–1991) and French photographer Eugène Atget (1857–1927), who met in Paris in the 1920s and conducted comparable documentary projects. As you explain, when Atget and Abbott met, he was working to document the city of Paris as it was being modernized after WWI. Abbott became a... 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

Meet the Curator: Ulrike Meyer Stump

Posted on August 8, 2018

In No Two Alike: Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff, FotoFocus Guest Curator Ulrike Meyer Stump re-stages an iconic 20th-century photo exhibition with a modern twist. Here, the independent curator and Zurich University of the Arts lecturer discusses abstraction, Paris, and curatorial problem solving. No Two Alike re-conceives a 1929 London exhibition featuring photographs by German sculptor Karl Blossfeldt and American photographer Francis Bruguière. What is most memorable about this pairing, and why is the exhibition worth revisiting? The combination of Blossfeldt’s plant photographs and Bruguière’s experimental photographic designs is surprising. They were initially created in entirely different contexts: Blossfeldt’s as teaching materials for Jugendstil designers... Continue

Meet the Curator: Drew Klein

Posted on July 23, 2018

Drew Klein is performance art at the Contemporary Arts Center. Bringing an international sensibility to the Cincinnati scene, Klein’s curations and commissions have been nothing shy of existential, provocative—and absolutely stunning. From Takahiro Yamamoto’s Direct Path to Detour to Jens Lekman’s Ghostwriting project, the Performing Arts Director has proven tireless in his quest for extraordinary art that asks us stretch our minds. While Klein continues to change the face of performance art in the Midwest, we’ll eagerly await the CAC Black Box performance of Blind Spot—an interdisciplinary collaboration between writer-photographer Teju Cole and composer Vijay Iyer. Blind Spot takes place Saturday, October 6 at 7 p.m.,... Continue