The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati is pleased to present:

Picturesque Cincinnati

Photographs by David La Spina and Kraemer Art Co.,
part of FOTOFOCUS 2012.

Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 18, 6-8pm.
AFC Gallery, 811 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
The exhibition runs from September 18-October 31.

Click here to view the Project.


Couple Viewing Cincinnati Skyline, Covington, KY, 2011


The exhibition juxtaposes contemporary scenes of Cincinnati by former native David La Spina with vintage photographs by the Kraemer Art Company made at the turn-of-the 20th century.

The Kraemer brothers took advantage of Congressional authorization in May 1898 to enter the postcard field and developed a thriving business photographing, producing and distributing postcards of ‘scenic’ Cincinnati. In collaboration with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce they published Kraemer and Kraemer’s Picturesque Cincinnati, a book of the postcard source imagery arranged by subject matter from churches to parks, estates, and public works. The majority of the Kraemer images have been preserved and proliferated through mechanical reproduction cementing their legacy as the comprehensive visual document of Cincinnati at the end of the Gilded Age.

For the exhibition, La Spina selected Kraemer Art Company images from the archives of the Cincinnati Historical Society, some of which were never translated into postcard or book form. The selected images often bely the optimism of Cincinnati at the beginning of the 20th Century, depicting half-completed public works, vacant new industrial parks, commuter neighborhoods and city streets. A century later, echoing this geography and focus, La Spina’s images are populated by the citizens now inhabiting and working in this built environment. From suburban vignettes to post-industrial tenements and factories, La Spina’s landscapes explore the neighborhoods that inspired his selections of the Kraemer outtakes and speak of a different Cincinnati at the beginning of the 21st Century. Presented together these two groups of images also reflect on how types of photography created for distinct purposes function in the context of historic record.

David La Spina (b. 1981, Cincinnati) is currently based in Tivoli, New York. He earned a B.F.A. from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005 and a M.F.A. in photography at Yale University School of Art in 2009. Currently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

This exhibition has been made possible due to support from the Simon's Rock Faculty Development Fund and a grant from FOTOFOCUS.

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FOTOFOCUS recaptures the spirit of Cincinnati’s legacy as an epicenter of art production and creative exchange, and seeks to revitalize that spirit for the 21st century. Acting as a catalyst for institutional collaboration and community engagement, FOTOFOCUS organizes a month-long biennial celebration spotlighting independently programmed exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography and lens-based art.