alice aedy lens culturePhoto: Alice Aedy

Ask yourself this: when’s the last time you really thought about the people you see in photographs? We’re not talking about those in recent uploads from last weekend’s festivities or the enviable ‘wish you were here’ beach snaps. We’re talking about strangers: the people you’ve never seen before and will likely never see again.

It’s easy to flick past a random face online or in print. We live in an image-saturated world where it is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to contemplate every picture we see. If a picture really does paint a thousand words, we’d be looking at hundreds of thousands of words every day. Who has the time for that? So, we click mindlessly, watching videos, playing games, double tapping, swiping left. A simple scroll winds up in the shadowy depths of the web.

But there’s a different, more purposeful click that we often overlook. The human click. It’s the one that takes place in real life, between real people exchanging real stories. Enter Faces In Focus, a photography initiative launched by four old school friends on a mission to tell the stories that matter to the people who care. It’s driven by the ethos: it’s all in the click.

Pulling together a network of photographers and charitable organisations from around the world, the team behind Faces In Focus aims to expose the many fascinating, often moving, yet predominantly uplifting personal stories of people around the world. In doing so, the project is restoring the power of the click, translating the emotional connection between photographers, people and charities and – perhaps most importantly – giving browsers the chance to make a difference by liking posts, donating funds, buying prints and volunteering.

Having met a variety of people while studying in Medellin, Colombia, project founder Joseph Lebus was eager to find a way to bring his portraits to life. He then discovered Casa Kolacho, an organisation in the Comuna 13 barrio that uses hip-hop, graffiti and break dance as a means of education about the community’s social and historical culture. The concept inspired him to kickstart a platform for others to share stories. And so began the photography project which has since drawn photographers across the globe.

Subjects spread far and wide: Emily Garthwaite’s series on the Nari Gunkan (Women’s Voice) supports the Indian female empowerment group; Furkan Temir harrowingly depicts Ayn-el Arab, a Syrian town shattered by ISIS; closer to home, Ed Little photographs Second Shot Coffee, a ‘pay it forward’ initiative helping Shoreditch’s homeless. In fact there’s nothing to unite these subjects other than the simple fact that they all deserve our support.

With volunteering opportunities and ways to donate, Faces in Focus transforms photos into funds in a simple click. Follow the project online for regular updates on causes, volunteering opportunities and photography news.

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