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FotoFocus Announces Elaine Mayes, Renowned Rock and Roll Photographer as FotoFocus’s Spring Visiting Artist

FotoFocus, the nonprofit arts organization championing photography and lens-based art, have announced that renowned American photographer Elaine Mayes will be the next artist in the organization’s Lecture and Visiting Artist Series

Mayes will join FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore for a conversation at FotoFocus in the Lightborne Studios on Tuesday, April 14, at 7PM, and show a selection of her Monterey Pop Festival photographs in the new FotoFocus Gallery. The talk will be followed by a screening of Monterey Pop (1968), presented as part of FotoFocus’s free monthly film series SECOND SCREENS, and a Q&A session with the artist.

Elaine Mayes began her extensive career in the 1960s, capturing intimate portraits of youth counterculture during the ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District. She documented the thousands of like-minded people who ushered in a new American era, and Mayes’ powerful black-and-white photographs went on to be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York decades later.

Mayes turned her lens toward music also in the late 1960s, capturing rock and roll musicians at a turning point in music history. Her photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Mamas and The Papas, and Otis Redding from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival remain among the period’s most notable artifacts. She eventually became Steve Miller Band’s official photographer and continued to shoot the music scene in the 1980s, capturing New York’s thriving Punk and New-Wave era. More recently, she produced the conceptual documentary Summers with Helen (2017) about her friendship with artist and photographer Helen Levitt (1912-2009).

The conversation with Mayes and Moore will be followed by a screening of Monterey Pop (1968), D.A. Pennebaker’s concert film documenting the same 1967 Monterey Pop Festival that Mayes recorded on camera. The film will be a new 4k restoration that highlights performances by Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and more in glorious surround sound. This will be the fourth screening in FotoFocus’s SECOND SCREENS series, which launched in January 2020 to celebrate the non-profit organization’s tenth anniversary and expand its mission of promoting lens-based art to fully encompass film, video, and the moving image.

“We are honored to welcome Elaine to Cincinnati and announce her addition to our ever-expanding lecture series. Few artists have been able to translate the feeling of the Summer of Love quite the way she has, and I look forward to watching Monterey Pop having listened to her recollections in person. It will be a very special evening,” says Mary Ellen GoekeFotoFocus Executive Director.


FotoFocus, 212 East 14th Street, Cincinnati, OH

●      6:00PM - Free public reception and exhibition opening

●      7:00PM - Elaine Mayes in conversation with Kevin Moore

●      7:30PM - SECOND SCREENS film: Monterey Pop

●      9:00PM - Q&A and final thoughts 

The exhibition of Mayes’ photographs will be on view from April 14 through August 31, 2020.

The evening’s events are free and open to the public.