FotoFocus Biennial 2016

FotoFocus Biennial 2016: Photography, the Undocument

FotoFocus ArtHub

FotoFocus ArtHub, Photo by Tony Walsh

ArtHub Interior

FotoFocus ArtHub, Interior View, Photo by Jacob Drabik

2014 Biennial Bookstore

2014 Biennial Bookstore, Photo by Long Nguyen

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October 1–31, 2016, Cincinnati, Ohio
Biennial Featured Programming: October 6–9, 2016

About the Biennial

The FotoFocus Biennial is a regional, month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art held throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding region. Featuring over 60 participating museums, galleries, academic institutions, and community organizations, the 2016 Biennial will include original FotoFocus curated exhibitions and four days of events and programming, including screenings, lectures, and performances.

Photography, the Undocument

The FotoFocus Biennial 2016 Theme

Photography is identified with objectivity, documentation, and realism. Yet the medium essentially abstracts the visible world, reducing its surfaces to two dimensions, editing down to a narrowly chosen single frame, and often presenting the world in black and white. Digital technologies of recent decades, allowing for seamless manipulation of photographs, have further eroded photography’s documentary authority. Surrealism historically played on these contradictions, conjuring from within the photographic image the eerie, the uncanny, and the outright bizarre. “Beauty will be convulsive,” wrote André Breton in 1928, referring to art’s ability to break the surface of realism, of the everyday, to reveal sudden insights, even truths. The Undocument is an exploration of alternate understandings of the documentary photograph—its claims to objective realism and simultaneous potential for pure fantasy.

For the FotoFocus Biennial 2016, participating venues are invited to propose exhibitions that examine the wide sphere of activity between photography’s documentary tradition and such challenged notions as “objectivity,” or “authenticity;” to photography as a means of questioning “realism” and “reality;” to photography as a medium easily capable of fictions of fabrications. While any photograph may be examined through the lens of the subjective, the artificial—as an un-document—projects that emphasize and actively explore this idea in a given body (or bodies) of work are strongly encouraged.

Press Release as a PDF: FotoFocus Announces Theme of FotoFocus Biennial 2016: Photography, the Undocument

Venue Application Inquiry

Thank you to all the Participating Venues who applied to be a part of the FotoFocus Biennial 2016. The application process for 2016 is now closed. If you represent a venue interested in participating in the FotoFocus Biennial 2018, please contact us here.

The FotoFocus Biennial 2014

The FotoFocus Biennial 2014 was centered around historic Washington Park. It featured special exhibitions, and included five days of lectures, panel discussions, screenings, and performances in Memorial Hall. Visit for more information.