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Local Photographer Nancy Rexroth Talks Career In New Film

Museum purchase with funds provided by Carl Jacobs, 2005.15
Boys Flying, Amesville, Ohio, Nancy Rexroth (American b. 1946) photographer, 1976. Vintage gelatin silver print.

The Cincinnati Art Museum premieres a film about a groundbreaking local photographer later this week. Light on IOWA features Nancy Rexroth and her work with a toy camera. Filmmaker Ann Segal says Rexroth, who lives in Cincinnati, produced ethereal photographs with a Diana camera.

"It's a very primitive camera and it takes very distorted pictures," Segal says. "She created this whole series in her book called IOWA. She talks in the video at length about the whole process of how that all evolved."

The photos, most in black and white, capture haunting, sometimes blurry images of Midwestern life. Segal calls them abstract.

"The effect of her images is very… there's a lot of nostalgia, they're kind of mysterious. They're poetic."

Segal says the conversation with Rexroth should be interesting to even those without a specific art background. "I think that particularly these days people can get more insight about what it is to take pictures, and have some frame of reference because everyone's taking pictures."

Rexroth's collection found a home at the Cincinnati Art Museum two years ago. The film Light on IOWA premieres virtually this Thursday.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.