Thursday, November 13, 2008

OU Alum Does a 360 at the Kennedy Museum of Art

Carlyn Lynch

Thomas R. Schiff graduated from Ohio University in 1970 with a business degree and a few photography and art classes. More than 30 years later, he is the chairman and CEO of John J. & Thomas R. Schiff & Co., Inc. as well as director of the Cincinnati Financial Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has found success in the business world as well as the time and vision to be a successful artist.

His work is now on display in the Kennedy Museum of Art. Schiff uses a Hulcherama 360 panoramic camera to photograph beautiful structures and completely redefine the notion of architectural space. Most of his work is extremely colorful and sharp, unless it's in motion. His photograph of Times Square is one of the liveliest photos on display. The hustling traffic is a blur of neon streaking along beautifully contoured lines, twisting their way around the focal point of the photo.

He began exploring panoramic photography in 1994 to find a fresh way of expressing his artistic, architecturally-inspired vision. His interest in photography began in childhood and his early photos featured black and white images of storefronts.

The panoramic camera has allowed him to take his work to the next level by offering something new and innovative to the world of photography. He sums up his philosophy on photography with these words, "Sometimes a picture's most critical factor is when it changes your relationship to what is familiar or thought to be understood."

Our brains want our eyes to immediately recognize what is in front of them so that we can clearly identify what we see and file it away. Schiff photographs beautiful places; from a church in Columbus, IN to the National Cathedral in Washington D.C all in an effort to frustrate your impatient mind and give your eyes time to study and soak in the beauty of his photos. His work allows the viewer to surround themselves with some of the most beautiful places in the country while standing in rural Ohio.

The Kennedy Museum of Art is the only art museum in Appalachian Ohio. Educational program assistant Nora Merecicky says, "We like to think of ourselves as a beacon of our region, a destination for the arts and cultural happenings."

The museum is in the process of building a higher profile in the community. Education curator Sally Delgado says the schools in the area are very aware of the museum's resources, but they would like more families and people in the community to be aware of the exhibitions and artist lectures that take place throughout the year.

Nora Merecicky on the Kennedy Museum's Educational Prominence

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