Events photography

Northern Kentucky Places and Artists at Fotofocus Biennial Photography Event

The Fotofocus biennial is a month-long celebration of photography and what the organizers call “lens-based” art in our region. A project of the Cincinnati-based nonprofit Fotofocus, the Biennale has included northern Kentucky sites since its debut in 2012.

The event runs until the end of October, although some exhibits remain in venues beyond that month. This year’s theme is World Record and broadly addresses photography’s role in recording life’s moments, human interactions and their impact on the world, and the choices we make as we move through the global community.

“Every biennale we have a theme,” said Katherine Siegwarth, director of the biennale. “This year it’s the world record, which is a very broad concept, but we’re doing it on purpose to allow all of these participating sites to present their own ideas. The real joy of the Biennale is the fact that it’s is an opportunity for all of these voices, all of these different perspectives to be heard and seen by the greater community.

This year, the Fotofocus biennial includes 101 projects in 90 locations, Siegwarth said. More than 600 works by artists are featured in galleries, museums and other organizations not only in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, but also in Dayton, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio.

In Kentucky, Fotofocus’s goal is to complement, not compete with, the Louisville Biennale of Photography, which runs on opposite years, Siegwarth said. Six northern Kentucky sites are part of the Biennale this year.

“Those numbers are pretty comparable to what we have in Dayton and Columbus,” Siegwarth said.

That said, ongoing exhibits in Northern Kentucky provide visitors with a broad and often deeply personal view of our community and culture.

The Carnegie: “These things are connected”

The Carnegie exhibition, “These Things Are Connected,” brings together artists and guest curators to explore connections on many levels and interpretations. Five curators, from various backgrounds, have each chosen two artists to pair up for the exhibition.

A family photo discovered and reprocessed by Myra Greene. Greene’s work explores a recently discovered archive left by her grandmother which she transformed into ambertypes. His work is part of an exhibition by guest curator Daniel Fuller at the Carnegie. Photo provided | The Carnegie

“This exhibition is a continuation of the ideas we explored by bringing in guest curators,” said exhibition director Matt Distel. “The general philosophy that we have adopted at The Carnegie is that one of the things that really helps to support artists in our region is to introduce them to other people who can provide other types of opportunities for them.

Distel is joined by guest curators from Columbus, Minneapolis and Atlanta, as well as one who has galleries in Athens, Georgia and New York, but passes through Los Angeles. Each curator selected two artists, including at least one from a region close to The Carnegie.

Each pair of artists has its own section within the building. How the curators selected and composed the pairings was entirely up to them.

“That’s also how we chose the title of the exhibition – These things are connected – We make these connections, not necessarily looking at the same thematic exhibition,” he said. “We didn’t all have the same philosophies when we made our choice of artists. I allowed it to be very open.

The variety of approaches led to the discovery, Distel said.

“It became a varied type of exhibit, intentionally, because we just wanted to bring the work together in the building and see what connections were made as we walked through the building,” Distel said.

The Carnegie is located at 1028 Scott St. in Covington.

NKU School of the Arts: “This is Kentucky’s past, present and future”

Northern Kentucky University’s offering this year dives deep and encompasses our state of Kentucky. “This is Kentucky, Past, Present and Future” at NKU’s School of the Arts Gallery combines two projects, both looking at the people and culture of Kentucky over time.

Frank Doring for the Kentucky Documentary Project, part of “This is Kentucky: Past, Present, Future” at the NKU School of the Arts Gallery. Photo provided | NKU

NKU School of the Arts principal Matt Albritton said he had a great time putting together the exhibit.

“It’s really exciting to be part of two great projects happening right now across the state,” Albritton said. “One is larger, covering all Commonwealth counties, while the other is more focused on Cynthiana, Kentucky, a particular region and a deeper dive. And both projects cite the work of the Farm Security Administration as their inspiration and model.

The Roosevelt-era program sent photographers to document all 120 counties in the state. Forty years later, Kentucky Documentary Project founders Bill Burke, Bob Hower and Ted Wathen came up with the idea of ​​sending photographers out again and repeating the process every 40 years.

The second project is called “Boyd’s Station 306.36 Visual Documentary and Writing Project” and focuses exclusively on Harrison County. After USA today Photographer Jack Gruber has returned to his old farmhouse, established a gallery and artists’ retreat, and launched a 12-week internship for documentary photographers. These photographers focus their work on the county, bringing their different perspectives and talents to one place.

Albritton noted that taken as a whole, the exhibition breaks down the misconceptions that divide us and emphasizes what we all share in common.

“Photography can showcase our shared experience as people,” Albritton said. “It could be an antidote to the separation that is happening now with our polarized politics and social media.”

The NKU School of the Arts Gallery is located on the NKU campus, Louie B. Nunn Drive in Highland Heights.

Eva G. Farris Gallery at Thomas More University: “The Place of Origin”

“The Homeplace: Photographs from Historic African American Hamlets in the Kentucky’s Inner Bluegrass Region,” is the full title of Thomas More University’s Fotofocus exhibition at the Eva G. Farris Gallery.

“Benevolent” by Sarah Hoskins, as part of her exhibition “The Homeplace” at the Eva G. Farris Gallery on the campus of Thomas Moore University. Photo provided | TMU

The photographs are the work of documentary photographer Sarah Hoskins. Spanning several years, it has become a very personal journey.

“Twenty-two years ago I started what I thought was strictly a documentary project, it turned into something else along the way,” Hoskins wrote in his artist statement. “My life mingled with that of the communities I photographed. They have become my friends, my family… Home is comfort. The place you can return to no matter how many years have passed. It will always contain something familiar, something sure and always welcome you, no matter how long or why you have been away, with open arms.

The work tells a story that engages the viewer and creates a historical dialogue within our community. With names like Maddoxtown, Jimtown, New Zion, Bracktown and others, these communities were settled by newly liberated African Americans after the Civil War who found work on horse farms and large estates nearby – and many still exist today, said Elizabeth Neal, gallery director and curator of the exhibition.

“All those bloodlines from all those generations of people who lived there and raised their families,” Hoskins said. “It’s just a very interesting narrative.”

A takeaway from the exhibit, she said, is the success of the people in these small hamlets who have worked hard to create a community, often despite almost all odds, to become that home for the family for decades. generations.

“There’s a tenacity in these images, with this culture, this group of people, to keep moving forward, to go, to be,” she said.

The Eva G. Farris Gallery is located in the Benedictine Library on the Thomas More Campus in Crestview Hills.

More northern Kentucky exhibits

At the Baker-Hunt Art and Cultural Center, the Fotofocus exhibit features the work of Northern Kentucky artist Ryan Hill. “Ryan Hill: A Thousand Words” invites viewers to reflect on the choices they make as consumers through a series of images that document land development sites, art and music festivals and d other forms of consumer culture. Baker-Hunt is located at 620 Greenup St. in Covington.

An exhibit of underwater photography in “Faces of the Deep” is the Fotofocus exhibit at the Beheringer-Crawford Museum. For 15 years, John and Martha Lange have recorded marine life around the world. Through their love of scuba diving, the couple take a close interest not only in the inhabitants of the depths but also in the environment in which they live. The photographs capture the beauty and splendor of the underwater world and show an appreciation and willingness to protect and preserve it. The museum is located in Devou Park in Covington.

The i.imagine Center of Photography is a non-profit organization that provides photography-based education to students in grades 6-12. The organization has partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo for its Fotofocus exhibit, “Wildest Dream.” Students from Gray Middle School, Holmes Middle School and Ryle High School worked with zoo photographer Lisa Hubbard to capture images of endangered species. Student work is displayed in large format prints spanning the entire exterior walkway of the zoo’s former Polar Bear exhibit. “Wildest Dreams” is also on display at the i.imagine Center, located at 10259 US Highway 42 in Union on Saturdays in October.

For complete exhibition information and more about Fotofocus, visit