That’s a wrap for #FOTSfest18 — See you next year?

Some of the Focus on the Story staff and volunteers at the end of a long weekend.

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!

Pedro Ledesma III (front row left) and Phil Daquila look at images during a workshop. © Kirth Bobb
Luis Rios (front right), the National Press Photographers Association picture editor of the year, doing a portfolio review. © Kirth Bobb
Photojournalist Carl Juste shares insight on the crafting of compelling visual narratives. © Kirth Bobb
Joel-Peter Witkin rocking the FOTS Festival t-shirt during Martin Parr's presentation. © Pablo Benavente
British photo legends Martin Parr and Brian Griffin survey the scene of our opening night party at Gallery O on H © Sarah Boxer
Workshop Instructor André Chung dropping some knowledge © Kirth Bobb
Presenters Julie Winokur, Griselda San Martin, Kara Frame and Muriel Hasbun checking out the schedule © Kirth Bobb
Brian Griffin talks about Kate Bush during a presentation of some of his iconic album covers © Kirth Bobb
Maggie Steber during a portfolio review © Kirth Bobb
Speaker and artist Endia Beal right before she wows the audience on our opening day © Kirth Bobb