Focus on the Story supports and encourages visual storytellers of diverse backgrounds in bringing attention to critical issues, bridging cultural gaps, and sparking social change.
We believe in the power of images to inspire, educate and move people to action. Each year, through the annual Focus on the Story International Photo Festival, we bring some of the world’s most skilled visual storytellers to Washington, D.C. and to a virtual, global audience to present work on issues, ranging from the plight of refugees and migrants to the power of protest in the U.S. and around the world.
We aim to not only highlight the work of leading photojournalists on the front lines of global crises, but to inspire scores of everyday photographers to tell meaningful, impactful stories in their own communities.
Our all-volunteer team is passionate and committed to our core principles of inclusivity, anti-racism, decency and compassion. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our work and joining us on this journey.
In 2020, your contributions supported Alessandro Cinque’s ongoing work exposing the toxic impact of Peru’s mining industry on its indigenous people. Cinque’s project, “Peru, a Toxic State,” captures the stories, struggles, and suffering of the Quechua communities — from poisoned groundwater to toxic dust that covers crops and livestock. We were proud to award Cinque $2,000 through our inaugural Focus on the Story Grant to help him continue reporting his work.
The Focus on the Story International Photo Festival went virtual in 2020. We brought our free online programming to a global audience. From April through June we presented webinars exploring creativity during isolation, photojournalism on the front lines of an epidemic, Hong Kong’s democracy movement and how Black photographers were documenting a national reckoning on racial justice.
As the global pandemic turned the world upside down, we responded by partnering with the Iris Photo Collective to launch “Imagine: Visions of Hope,” a search for images from around the world that remind us what hope looks like. While hope means different things to different people, we think it is embodied in images of resilience, perseverance and determination. We are currently curating the best of the submitted images into a traveling exhibit that will launch in 2021.