Photographers Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin founded FotoFest after visiting Les Rencontres d’Arles in France. Inspired by the wide-ranging exhibitions, they sought to create a similar experience and dialogue in the United States. They launched FotoFest as a creative and socially engaged platform to foster cross-cultural connections in what they had previously found to be a rather nationally-focused arts scene.
This year, the festival celebrated its 15th anniversary of cultivating a truly global forum for artistic exchange. Held in Houston, Texas, FotoFest 2014 just closed the International Biennial, which showcased forty-nine Arab artists, including Lalla Essaydi of Morocco, Hazem Harb of Palestine, and Huda Lutfi of Egypt. The 2014 event involved more than 100 venues in and around downtown Houston, bringing the local community into the project as well.