Faces In Focus



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Faces In Focus

Faces In Focus was founded by Tara Rowse, Joseph Lebus & Stuart Swift. Their motto is 'Investing in those both sides of the lens' and they aim to raise money and awareness for charitable organisations through photography. Their second group exhibition based on the theme of 'Mind' opens thursday 31st August at The Blue Shop Cottage, Camberwell. 

Tell us about how Faces in Focus came about and how you decide on the final exhibitors.

Faces In Focus was a brainchild of Joe’s when he was out in Colombia! It was born last October after months of discussion and dreaming back and forth about how it would work. Our aim as a social enterprise is to raise money and awareness for charitable organisations via the medium of photography. Telling the stories that matter, to the people who care!

For our second exhibition, surrounding the theme ‘Mind’, and in aid of mental health organisation Head Talks, we sent out an open call for photographers to submit work based of the theme ‘Mind’. All of the photographs were put to a panel of incredible industry judges - Kimberly Hoang (Guardian), Joanna Vestey (Award winning photographer), Stephen Cunningsworth (Reuters), Patrick Di Nola (Verbatim/Getty), Kate Edwards (Guardian) and Stephanie Bailey (Save The Children) – who were given the power to select the 12 finalists for the exhibition. 

This time round we wanted a sense of impartiality from the FIF team and also anonymity so the judges didn’t know whom everyone else picked, all very exciting and top secret!

Louis Quail

Talk us through your first exhibition and how 'Mind' has evolved from that.

Our first show last October saw 20 different photographers all in one room, each supporting a different charitable organisation using a photo-essay of 8 photographs. Their main portrait was exhibited at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill and the rest of the series was published online. We had projected that came from all different parts of the world: From Colombia to Calais, Syria to Shoreditch, with charities ranging from Help Refugees, The White Helmets, Second Shot Coffee and many more!

It was amazing to see so many stories under one roof but this time round we wanted to focus in on one theme only,  ‘Mind’, and support one charitable organisation, Head Talks. We put out an open call and the finalists were chosen by a panel of industry judges (as above). Last year we had pure photography and storytelling, this year we’ve got a 4-day feast of photography, music, spoken word, poetry and many more surprises! 

As well as a private view on Thursday 31st August, we’ve got two evening events on Friday 1st September and Saturday 2nd September with many different musicians, poets, spoken wordsmiths coming to perform.

Alice Aedy

Who are you featuring in this year’s exhibition? 

We have eleven very talented photographers who we've selected for this years show. Alice Aedy, Amy Romer, Arthur Laidlaw, Ben Stevens, Bergina Leka, Ed Little, Emily Garthwaite, Henry Hiscox, Louis Quail, Milo Burridge & Noela Roibás.

You're partnering with 'Head Talks' this year - what can we expect to see and hear over the course of the four days? 

We are so excited to be collaborating with Head Talks for this exhibition. Oliver Chittenden, founder of Head Talks, has lined up 3 brilliant speakers for our private view – Kimberly Parsons (The Yoga Kitchen), Jeremy Thomas (Educational mental health speaker) and Persia Lawson (of Addictive Daughter) – to discuss their relationship with Head Talks and mental wellbeing. 

We will also have an interactive ‘Darkroom’ featured at the show in which people will be able to listen to the archive of amazing high profile speakers on the Head Talks YouTube channel. Print sale proceeds will be split between the photographer, Head Talks and Faces In Focus, proceeds from our local after party on Friday night will also be in aid of Head Talks!

Why do you think photography can play such a powerful role in raising awareness for such worthy causes?

Photography is a way of seeing. You can glance at a photograph and see it at face value, or you can look at a photograph and understand the story of the subject, the history of the place, the context in which that photograph took place. There is ALWAYS more than meets the eye and using photography as a tool to raise money and awareness for charitable organisations helps people visualise these worthy causes in the physical form. There is something cyclical about buying a beautiful print for your home and knowing a portion of what you pay will go straight back to the photographer’s cause: You’ve invested in a photographer, you’ve donated to charity and you’ve allowed Faces In Focus to continue their work!

(Left to Right) Louis Quail & Amy Romer

How do you see Faces in Focus growing and what should we expect from you guys over the next few years?

There is so much to come! There will be more themed exhibitions as we build our network of global photographers. We will also be focussing on opening up a more reportage-based side for photojournalists. And expect more collaboration with many different types of charities and organisations. This is just the start!


The exhibition is open to the general public free of charge Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd September at Blue Shop Cottage, 113A Grove Lane, Camberwell. 

  • Tara & Joe were interviewed by Samuel John Weeks & Chris photi
Further Reading:

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