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Foothill Photographers Shine As Citizen Diplomats

January 21, 2020

man playing drumThe Corrective Lens is a photography exhibition that celebrates the diversity of cultures and people from around the world and offers a message of unity. Twenty-nine photographs depicting thirteen countries will be on display at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery, Foothill College, January 23 – March 20, 2020. An opening reception will be held on January 23, 7-9 pm. and an artist talk will be held on March 11, 12-1 pm. 

Photographic images have power and meaning. They have the ability to impact minds and create lasting change on both small and large scales. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French banker Albert Kahn commissioned his photographers to travel around the world in order to document a variety of cultures. This project, developed before World War I, was intended to perform a mission of peace: bringing the outside world closer to home.

As the economy globalizes, and uprooted populations introduce unanticipated diversity to previously insular societies, we need to know what it means to live and think differently. Travel provides us with the opportunity to broaden our global view by engaging with people who have different perspectives, beliefs, and customs. The more we travel outside of our comfort zone and allow ourselves to see the world from a different viewpoint, the more comfortable we become with diversity and begin to realize that people from around the world share more in common than we might have first thought. “Storytelling is universal; it’s in our DNA; said Harlan Crowder, whose images of Burma and Cuba are included in the group show, “it’s the fundamental way humans connect.” 

Travel is a "corrective lens" that allows us to develop a worldview based on knowledge and firsthand experience, rather than fear. “Many Westerners have judgments about the religion of Islam without experiencing the culture of Iran or knowing the basic religious tenets, one of which is peace,” said Pam Perkins, whose images of Iran are included in the group show. The photographers in The Corrective Lens exhibit see the camera as a tool for citizen diplomacy and use travel photography as an opportunity to shape U.S. foreign relations, "one handshake and one shutter click at a time." Just as Albert Khan desired with his collection of photographs, these photographers hope that by assembling their photographs from diverse cultures together, they will contribute in some small way to achieving tolerance and respect. 

Exhibiting photographers include: Mila Bird, Barbara B. Collins, Harlan Crowder, Andrea Ewald, Ron Herman, Marilyn Howard, Mary Ellen Kaschub, Melinda Miller, Wes Mitchell, Pam Perkins, Annabelle Port, Gabrielle Rondell, Jacque Rupp, Mamen Saura, Timotius Tjahjadi, Sharon Wada, Don Wheatley. 

The exhibit is located in the KCI Gallery, on the lower level of the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. Parking is $3.00. Please park in Lot 4. Disabled parking in Lot 4-B. KCI hours of operation are: Mon/Wed/Fri: 8:30 - 5:00; Tues/Thurs 8:30 - 8:00; Sat: 9:00 - 4:00; Closed Sundays and holidays. 

For more information on the exhibit visit: