Chief Curator and Interim Executive Director
The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, Charlotte, NC, USA
Dennis Kiel has been Chief Curator at The Light Factory since 2007. As of January 2013, he is also serving as Interim Executive Director. The Light Factory was founded in 1972 as a photographers’ cooperative and for 40 years has presented a rich variety of work by local, national, and international artists. The organization also has an active Education Department, Outreach programs, and a Film Department that screens primarily independent and regional productions.
Before joining TLF, Mr. Kiel served as the Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Cincinnati Art Museum for 24 years. During that time, he curated numerous exhibitions, including The Human Experience: Photographs by Nicholas Nixon; and Borrowed Time: The Photograph as Music Album Cover. For five years, he taught a History of Photography class at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. At The Light Factory, the exhibitions Mr. Kiel has organized include Group f.64: Photographs by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, and Brett Weston; Out in the Streets: Democratic National Convention, Chicago 1968; and Connected There but Not Always Here: Social Networking and the Power of Image, among many others. He served as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) panel titled “American Masterpieces: Visual Arts Touring” (2009) and has participated in portfolio reviews at Houston FotoFest (2008, 2010, 2012), “Our World” for Photo Alliance, San Francisco (2009-2013), Photolucida, Portland, OR (2011), Review Santa Fe (2012), the “Slow Exposures Photography Festival”, Concord, GA (2013), and Atlanta Celebrates Photography (2013). He was also a juror for Photolucida’s Critical Mass 50 in 2011-2013 and the sole adjudicator for the Tennessee Arts Commission’s FY2014 Individual Artist Fellowship in Media: Photography.
Kiel received a BFA in Graphic Design from Ohio University and an MA in Art History from the University of Cincinnati. He also studied The History of Photography at Pennsylvania State University.
Kiel is interested in looking at and reviewing all areas of photography with the exception of commercial work (primarily advertising). He prefers to review a portfolio of actual prints as opposed to computer images. Kiel can offer inspiration, advice on exhibitions (a number of photographers that he met at reviews have exhibited at TLF), and proper presentation. His goal is to help photographers find a direction that will move their work to the next level.