Last week was equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. It really was a week of extremes and, even now, days after the inaugural edition of the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival, I’m processing a range of emotions — relief that it’s over, the deep satisfaction of what we accomplished and the looming question of, what’s next?
There’s also a bit of withdrawal that I’m not hanging out with such an inspiring cast — from our all-star lineup of speakers, to our festival goers to the festival staff that pulled it all off.
The feedback following the festival has been tremendous and positive. Not everything went perfectly. There were some hiccups but we’ll count them as lessons learned.
Over the next month, I’m going to spend some time going through what worked, what didn’t and what can be done to make it even better. And I’ll stress better not bigger. While growth can be a good thing, especially if it allows us to bring in more sponsors, it can also kill the thing that made last week such a success — and that is the intimacy that you get from a relatively small event where people have the chance to get to know each other.
“Intimate” is the word I kept hearing over and over again when people told me what they found so special about our festival. I like that. And that’s what we will strive to remember going forward — we want this to be a gathering of friends, old and new, drawn together over our shared love for the art of visual storytelling.
I hope to see you next year in DC!