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, writer, 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 the co-editor of the documentary photography book “UnPresidented: The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump and the People’s Response.” She is also 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 Chairman. Chris is an award-winning 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.
Leah Smith, Festival Associate. Leah is a young professional with a budding career in international affairs. In 2016, she earned her Master’s degree in international affairs from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Prior to grad school, Leah worked on two documentaries that highlighted the economies of Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.
Amanda Ellis, Writer/Social Media. Amanda is a writer, social media strategist, and brand manager for Investing in Adventure, a platform through which she inspires others with her stories of climbing mountains around the world. As a journalist for Focus on the Story, she strives to highlight the most talented photographers, telling their tales through words and compelling images. She graduated from the University of Kentucky and has many published works to her name.
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.