Photography Nonprofit FotoFocus' 2024 Biennial Theme Explores the Stories Behind the Shot

The Biennial events will be held throughout October 2024 at various museums, galleries, universities and public spaces across the region.

Apr 25, 2023 at 12:01 pm
click to enlarge The theme "backstories" aims to show the full context and broader history of photographs that live outside the frame. - Photo: Kaique Rocha/Pexels
The theme "backstories" aims to show the full context and broader history of photographs that live outside the frame.

Have you ever looked at a photo or a work of art and wondered if there was a story behind it? Why the photographer chose that angle or the painter those colors? Those missing puzzle pieces to select works will be uncovered during FotoFocus’ Biennial.

FotoFocus, a Cincinnati arts nonprofit that champions photography and lens-based art, announced the theme of the seventh edition of their Biennial will be “backstories.” The nonprofit says the theme aims to show the full context and broader history of photographs that live outside the frame.

“Backstories are histories of what has happened previously, or out of view—stories that have not yet been told, or told differently by people whose voices have not been heard. Once told, they shed new light on circumstances and events. Backstories fill in where existing evidence ends, solving mysteries, or simply adding nuance to tell us things we need to know. Histories emanating from archives, discovered through reporting, or revealed through rumor provide essential contexts for understanding a given photograph,” FotoFocus said in a release.

The 2022 Biennial broke FotoFocus’ record for the highest number of projects, with almost 800 artists, curators and participants. And more than 180,000 visitors attended. This next Biennial, to be held in October 2024, will feature new commissions from both international and regional artists, as well as new exhibitions and film programming.

The Biennial will be held at various venues across the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus areas. Global artists, curators, critics, educators and visitors are invited to experience and participate in exhibitions, talks, performances, screenings and panel discussions, all surrounding the theme backstories.

“Following a fantastic Biennial in 2022 ... we are thrilled to invite back our community to participate in the upcoming 2024 FotoFocus Biennial,” FotoFocus executive director Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth said in the release. “The new theme, backstories, will give this edition's partners the chance to engage in new and nuanced ways with the medium of photography.”

“I like to think we’ve all become more savvy about disinformation these past few years,” Kevin Moore, FotoFocus’ artistic director and curator, said in the release. “We no longer take information at face value — spoken, written, or visual. It is important to know the backstories.”

Venues, including museums, galleries, universities and public spaces, can apply here to participate in the Biennial until Sept. 15, 2023.

More information on FotoFocus and their upcoming Biennial:

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