Forward Focus
Workshops with Creative Purpose
Forward Focus Workshops utilize the power of visual imagery and the written word to support and encourage grassroots nonprofit initiatives dedicated to fostering social and environmental change. The Workshops provide a collaborative forum that combines education, adventure, and creative purpose to celebrate and promote acts of compassion, connection, and contribution.

Forward Focus Workshops are a pioneering series of nonprofit educational journeys for experienced and emerging photographers and writers who want to cover developmental, environmental, and relief efforts worldwide. Through intensive instruction and hands-on participation, the Workshops provide an opportunity to complete a body of work, to contribute in a meaningful way to projects that make a difference, and to embark on a profound adventure of personal discovery and cultural exchange.

Forward Focus wants to help the helpers. We work with NGO's and not for profit organizations by hosting volunteer-vacation photography workshops where photographers are guided to combine adventure with philanthropy while learning digital photography techniques in the field. We believe that by bringing our gifts and our talents—whether web design, photography, writing, labor, or money—and by pooling our efforts with projects already in place, we can become giants with our efforts.

Working with Forward Focus’s experienced instructors, small groups of 8 or fewer participants will embark on an intensive creative journey. The emphasis will be on shooting, and for those interested in publishing their work, reporting. We’ll spend most days in the field photographing NGOs at work in our host communities, and combine that experiential learning with sessions in PhotoShop, how best to approach subjects.

In addition to its unique philanthropic outlook, Forward Focus workshops are different from most travel workshops in that we teach participants how to report and write up their experiences. We go beyond traditional “Travel Writing” to develop essential skills for photographers and writers who wish to publish their documentary work in newspapers, magazines, and online.

That’s in important part of the process: At the end of each workshop, our goals are, first, to provide photographs and writing to our nonprofit hosts, giving them valuable, free content to publicize their efforts through brochures and online. And second, to help participants develop strategies and content to sell to media outlets back home.

Forward Focus will publish the best of these efforts online, and ultimately, as the workshops grow, in an annual book. To benefit our nonprofit partners in the field, we’ll also sell photographs donated by top photographers and workshop participants. Over time, will also serve as a vital link between photographers and writers hoping to document conservation, development, and relief projects and the innovative, grassroots nonprofits in need of exposure.

Many of the most exciting and meaningful conservation, development, and relief projects underway today are taking place on the continent of Africa. Beginning in fall 2007, we will launch several workshops in Uganda and Tanzania.

In Tanzania, the focus is conservation: Participants will embark on a remote, luxurious safari with Corbett Bishop, an American-born guide whose Ol Tukai Conservancy is pioneering grassroots conservation efforts in the villages near Lake Tanganyika.
In Uganda, the focus is development and relief work. Participants will be based on the Nile River.

Leslie Alsheimer is the director of the Santa Fe Digital Darkroom Photography Workshops, which provide professional and customized photography workshops in exotic locations around the globe. She believes in using photography to help empower others to find their own creative voice and vision. She was the creative director of the book Reality from the Barrio, a social documentary honored in the PDN Photography Annual 2003: The Best Photos of the Year. Inspired by a traditional wet darkroom photography program that Leslie developed for a non-profit's gang diversion program, the book became a thesis project for Leslie's master's degree in social work.

Elizabeth Hightower is the literary editor of Outside Magazine, North America’s premiere environmental and adventure magazine. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, living in Santa Fe, Elizabeth worked at several national magazines, including National Geographic; her own articles and book reviews have appeared in Outside, The New York Times Book Review, Play: the New York Times Sports Magazine, Preservation, Organic Style, and The Washington Post. Developing the reporting and writing aspects of ForwardFocus Workshops, she is eager to help writers and photographers turn their adventures into meaningful, publishable stories that can gain valuable exposure for the nonprofits they document.



• to provide an online clearinghouse to link photographers with projects and nonprofits fostering social or environmental change
• to hire local college students to serve as guides, liaisons, and to learn technology
• to give back to projects materially: donate cameras, photographs, write brochures, etc



As a non-profit organization, we rely on foundations, sponsors and individual donors. Your donations are critical to the success of this program.

ForwardFocus and Community Photography Outreach operate in partnership with Santa Fe Digital Darkroom Workshops and the non-profit organization Santa Fe Council for the Arts. These organizations have come together to build on our shared vision. Please join us in giving the gift of photography!

USED CAMERA CALL: We can put your used gear to good use!

Photography Outreach or Forward Focus
c/o Santa Fe Digital Darkroom
551 W. Cordova Rd. Suite 155
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

Photography Outreach Projects: SFCA Inc.

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