Our primary initiative during 2018 was the Bokeh Focus Annual Exhibit and Fundraising gallery evening event. The exhibit featured the creative work of four young photojournalists. They each captured the city of Atlanta through their own personal perspectives. Then they traveled the world capturing images of cities outside the US exploring the similarities that cities in other parts of the world have to Atlanta.
Ali Sardar, the curator of the exhibit and one of the featured photographers, explained how the concept of the exhibit evolved during his speech at the event. “I wanted to compare Atlanta — the lifestyle, the people, and the environment that I grew up in, with other cities. I traveled to Bradford, the UK, earlier this year to meet my cousin and family. I was editing images from Bradford when I realized that there was an uncanny resemblance between Atlanta and Bradford. Both cities reminded me of a heart, where the streets and alleyways acted like veins spreading through and away from the city and human beings coursing through the streets like blood cells in veins. And I knew Bradford could not be the only city so similar to Atlanta. Thus this year’s theme was decided.
Exhibit photographers only had 2 requirements: to be from Atlanta and to have traveled abroad. Cory Hancock spent documenting his time in Greece where he was volunteering to help the displaced refugees who migrated to Greece. Both Charmie and Jenna traveled to Peru, yet the images differ and reflect each photographers’ individual style. Charmie Modi’s images are warm and inviting, While Jenna Eason’s documentary-style images challenge one’s inner views. No matter whose images you view, see if you can feel the heart, the energy, the similarities. Because truly the only difference between the cities you see here are the names, otherwise everything else is the same.”
Cory Hancock, one of the featured photographers, spoke at the exhibit about his experience of capturing images for the exhibit. “What I’ve realized in these endeavors is that each place has beauty and each has personality. Each place has unique characteristics that define the people there and contribute to the fabric of humanity. While the people captured in some of these photos may never meet each other, they are forever linked in their human experience. As people, we all have a common humanity regardless of where we’re from or what we do. My hope for these photos and the photos I capture in the future is that they will help you and I discover more about humanity. That has the capacity to change the world.”
Charmie Modi, one of the featured photographers, has lived in Atlanta most of her life. She began exploring the city when she was introduced to photography, which has given her a different perspective about people, cities and countries. Many of her photos are taken in Peru. Traveling to Peru was a special treat. She experienced centuries-old culture, the landscape, Machi Picchu and the Peruvian people and their traditions.
Jenna Eason, one of the featured photographers, is an Atlanta journalist interning at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She uses photography to tell stories and share experiences. She believes that we all are different and those differences should be embraced. She believes we find humanity in each other’s similarities.