FOTOFOCUS SYMPOSIUM (4.9.22-4.10.22)

“The FotoFocus Symposium returns for its sixth edition this spring, centered on the theme of telephotography and held in two locations. World-renowned speakers from the fields of architecture, art, fashion, film, of psychology and media will speculate on the past, present and future of long-distance image sharing – both physically and digitally, literally and figuratively – in a series of panel discussions, lectures and screenings of movies.


From the earliest transmissions of photographs to today’s ubiquitous online information sharing, telephotography has become so central to contemporary life that it is hard to imagine communications without it. The FotoFocus symposium will explore both the electronic circulation of photographs and the technique of photographing distant objects. Whether through personal photographs, press footage or military surveillance, Telephotography will explore our desire for closeness and the ways in which we approach things through photographs.

Panels and presentations will address 19th century scientific photography’s attempts to capture the invisible; first press photography and wireframe photo services; artists making exhibitions in remote locations designed to be experienced through transmitted images; the ways filmmakers use their medium to tell private and public stories; the impact of telephotography on office architecture and design; artists whose work focuses on disconnection/connection; and fierce competition among photojournalists to deliver breaking news to conflict sites.

Participating artists include renowned visual artist and fashion photographer Collier Schorr, the Symposium’s keynote speaker, who has exhibited internationally and produced covers and editorials for Vogue and the New York Times; famed photographer Moyra Davey, known for her series of mailed photographs in which she folds her photographs into envelopes and sends them to friends; visual artist and environmental activist Mary Mattingly, who often places her climate change installations in inaccessible waters; and Kevin Schmidt, the artist who transformed a lonely, abandoned house into an art installation virtually impossible to visit in person but widely shared on social media.


The first day of programming, Saturday, April 9, held at Memorial Hall, will cover a wide range of topics, such as how 19th-century scientists attempted to capture electricity on film; the meteoric rise of press photography between the 1930s and the 1970s; how architectural renderings and visualizations have changed in recent years; and the complex role of being a photojournalist in today’s world of fast-paced news cycles.

The second day of the symposium, Sunday April 10, will be a film program held at the Garfield Theater, with several short films and a screening of the film The main actor [The Leading Actor]. The day includes a panel discussion showcasing the diversity of Latin American cultures to North American audiences, while examining how media, especially photographic imagery, create and distort understandings of foreign cultures.


For decades, architects and designers have largely preferred to depict their designs of buildings and cities as sparsely populated as possible in order to showcase those designs. Today, visualizations of future spaces and their documentation once built have begun to include people, but as an element subordinate to designs. This panel explores how photography and visualizations can help us better understand how we are actually impacted by the architectural spaces we inhabit.

Curated by Kevin Moore, Artistic Director of FotoFocus. Moderated by David van der Leer, Principal, DVDL, with panelists: Todd Levon Brown, Environmental Psychologist; Iwan Baan, photographer; and Erin Sharp Newton, design director for healthcare practice at Posen Architects.

The symposium and film program are free and open to the public.
Full symposium schedule and Symposium attendees.

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