June is ‘Photo Month’ in DC!

June is ‘Photo Month’ in DC!

Join us for the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival

"Covid 19 Mask" by Mustafa Bilge Satkin was a finalist in the Focus on the Story Portrait Awards 2021.

The Focus on the Story International Photo Festival returns this year with a month-long schedule of speakers, panel discussions, workshops, photowalks and exhibits. After going virtual during 2020’s pandemic lockdown, we’re eager to host a hybrid festival in 2021 that will include in-person activities, exhibits and outdoor installations (all with proper health and protocols in place), along with online talks and presentations.

Since our first festival in 2018, our goal has always been about creating and growing a diverse community of passionate visual storytellers. Along the way, we’ve presented a stellar lineup of speakers and panelists to support our work of shining a light on critical issues, bridging cultural gaps and sparking social change. While our festival will adjust to a new reality in 2021, our mission and commitment to our core values remains stronger than ever.

Eventually, you’ll find the full schedule of festival events, here.

Focus on the Story attendees at the 2019 opening night party at Dupont Underground © Jess Levenson

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Focus on the Story?

Focus on the Story is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to support and encourage visual storytellers of diverse backgrounds in bringing attention to critical issues, bridging cultural gaps, and sparking social change. We organize the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival in DC. During June, photography organizations, businesses, embassies and collectives, along with galleries across the city will host talks, workshops, photo walks, exhibits and other events that show the power of photography to entertain, enlighten and inspire us. Each of the participating groups are solely responsible for the operation, coordination and entry conditions of their individual events. Focus on the Story’s role is to help promote and market all of the individual events.

What is the difference between the “Focus on the Story International Photo Festival” and “Focus on the Story 2021”?

There is no difference. The names can, for the most part, be used interchangeably. The distinction is that Focus on the Story 2021 is shorthand specifically for the 2021 festival.

How can our organization get involved?

Focus on the Story welcomes all photography groups in the DC Metro area to participate in the festival. If you have a planned event or exhibit, contact us and tell us about your event. There is no fee to add an event to the festival lineup. If your event is accepted for the festival, we’ll add it to the calendar on this website and promote it in our emails and social media. We’ll also link to you in in our “event partners” section. In return, we ask that you add a link back to focusonthestory.org on your website and that when you promote your event on social media and in emails, you mention that it’s part of the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival, with a link back and the #FOTS21 hashtag when possible.

At the opening for Benedict Tisa's exhibit "Moments Noticed" at Lost Origins Gallery © Joe Newman

Can our organization choose the date of our event?

Yes, as stated above, the participating “partners” are entirely responsible for their events. Focus on the Story’s role is to actively promote all of the events on the celebration calendar. While we will make groups aware of potential conflicts, Focus on the Story can not guarantee that another event will not be scheduled on the same day and time period as yours.

What if we’re interested in sponsoring the festival?

We love our sponsors and will work with them individually to figure out how to give them the best experience possible. By sponsoring Focus on the Story 2021, you will not only reach the highly-engaged professional photographers and enthusiasts who come out for our workshops and photowalks, but you’ll reach thousands of photography lovers during June’s month-long celebration of photography. Check out our sponsorship packages, here.

Do you need volunteers?

We never turn away people who want to get involved – just get in touch with us and we’ll figure out where you can help.

How do I get in touch with you?

Drop us a line at info@focusonthestory.org.