Benjamin Willis is an artist born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. His current work consists of primarily lens-based material that interweaves sociology, philosophy, and anthropology. He aims to show the deep love and interconnectedness of life in the city he is from, as a Black photographer he believes it is imperative to participate in making the work about his community from his perspective.
Willis is a graduate of Otterbein University where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Painting and Drawing, as well as a Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy. He was recently named a GCAC Art Unites CBus award recipient, and is a featured artist for the Apple Inc. Hometown Series.
Julian Foglietti is a visual documentarian based in Columbus, Ohio. Working in both digital and analog photography, Foglietti’s work often looks at how place informs our identities, and the ways in which energy is held and transmitted in those spaces. Subjects are often frozen in place or blurred in action showing the impressions we leave on our environments.
Foglietti is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he received a BFA in Photography. In 2018 he was selected as a finalist for the Hasselblad Masters competition. Julian’s work can be seen in publications throughout Columbus, and has been featured in two shows at the Hopkins Hall Gallery.
An earlier curator of 20th century photography, John Szarkowski proposed that photographers exist as mirrors or windows, either showing the world or reflecting themselves in it. Midwest natives, Benjamin Willis and Julian Foglietti, complicate this maxim in an aesthetic commentary on the entanglements of contemporary photography. Questioning divisions between artist and subject, photography becomes a lens turned back onto the midwest, in a region steeped in both tradition and new life (innovation?). In Lyrics for a New Century, Willis and Foglietti are simultaneously mirrors and windows, revealing themselves within representations of their larger communities, and in a diversity of stories once considered to be mundane. These contemporary photographers develop relationships instead of film, participate rather than report, and ground the narratives of the midwest in an increasingly digital world.
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