Who We Are
Joe Newman, CEO. Joe is a photographer, writer and media strategist. As editor and publisher of Focus on the Story, he organizes photography workshops, and publishes photo books and a quarterly magazine. He is a veteran journalist and, more recently, spent several years directing communications at a Washington, D.C. NGO.
Shamila N. Chaudhary, Executive Director. Shamila is a foreign policy analyst and avid photographer whose work has been featured in The Washington Post and local media outlets and galleries in the Washington, D.C. metro area. She is Senior Advisor to the Dean at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a Senior South Asia Fellow at New America.
Chris Suspect, Festival Chair. Chris is a street and documentary photographer from the Washington, DC area. His work has been recognized internationally and has been exhibited at various venues in the U.S, Germany, Belgium, Georgia and the United Kingdom. His documentary work on the underground music scene in Washington, D.C., was published as a book, Suspect Device, in 2014.
Mona E. Avalos, Festival Manager. Mona is an emerging photographer who captures a creative perspective of street life, nature and architecture. Her work was recently featured at IGDC’s first community exhibition. As a research and policy analyst, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Mona has worked in Central and Latin America and Africa to reduce mercury pollution, particularly by artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations.
Chantale Wong, Finance Chair. Chantale is a management and policy expert with more than 20 years of senior level experience in the federal government and was most recently the Senior VP for a tech startup. She was a presidential appointee in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, serving as the VP for Administration and Finance and CFO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation during her last federal post. Her retirement passion in photography has gotten recognition in the Washington D.C. area.
Kirth Bobb, Logistics Chair. Born and raised in Georgetown, Guyana, Kirth Bobb migrated to the United States in 1999 and now resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and three children. Though “formally” educated in the computer sciences and cyber security disciplines, his wedding, family documentary, fine art and street photography has been featured in several internationally recognized publications and has been awarded very high honors by the photography community. His work has also been exhibited in galleries in Washington, D.C.
Tim Hill, Designer. Tim is an award-winning web developer and graphic artist. He has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 25 years, fighting to his last breath in the alternative news trenches in Gainesville, Florida and Baltimore, Maryland. With his agency Draft Horse Studio in Kansas City, Missouri, he builds websites and designs publications for a variety of local and national organizations.
Mike Lee, Writer. Mike is a photographer, editor, labor journalist and writer based in New York. His photography has been featured in several group shows, most recently at Art Thou Gallery in Berkeley and Darkroom Gallery in Vermont. A portfolio and interview is published in Neicebook 2, and upcoming at Palooka. His short fiction is published in several literary journals, including The Avenue, The Ampersand Review, Reservoir, Ghost Parachute and The Airgonaut.