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Dear Filter Photo community,

We couldn't be happier with how Filter Photo has grown over the years! Back in 2009 we started off relatively simply, with a single day of portfolio reviews. Seven years later we're organizing an annual multi-day Festival, operating a permanent gallery and project space, maintaining an active membership program, and staying connected with our widespread community on a daily basis via social media.

We'd like to take a moment to say Thank You! Filter Photo owes its growth to the amazing community support we've received from so many, including our attendees and members, sponsors, grant-giving organizations, and partner photo institutions. It's been a pleasure to serve you all since day one, and we look forward to doing so for many, many years into the future.

That being said, we wanted to let you know that there will be some notable upcoming changes at Filter Photo. Founder/Executive Director Sarah Hadley and Managing Director James Pepper Kelly have decided to step down from their respective positions at the end of 2015, both for personal reasons (see below for statements from each). Both have been with Filter Photo since the very beginning and will be sorely missed, but we're happy to say that they will continue to be regular fixtures at the Festival and other Filter Photo events. We'll be celebrating both on the final night of the 2015 Festival (details tba) and hope you can join us for the evening!

Sarah and Pepper will be assisting Director of Operations, Erin Hoyt, and the organization's Board of Directors, in the process of selecting a new Executive Director for the organization. A job description is on our website, and we encourage those who are interested and qualified to apply.

Again, thank you so much for your support over the years. We're incredibly excited about what the future holds as we continue to grow our ability to serve the photographic arts community. We hope that to see you at Filter Photo event soon!

the Filter Photo Team
After a great deal of contemplation, I have decided to step down as the Executive Director of the Filter Photo Festival at the end of 2015.  As I think about leaving Filter, I am overwhelmed with emotions and I would like to take this occasion to say that I am so very grateful for this experience and the fact that so many of you believed in Filter from the beginning. Over the years I have met so many wonderful photographers and photography professionals from around the country and I value the friendships I've formed with so many of you.

I also want to express my profound gratitude to the entire Filter team, especially Pepper and Erin, who have devoted so much time and energy to building Filter over the past seven years. I am confident that with the help of our incredible Board, the Members and the photographic community at large, Filter will continue to evolve and grow in exciting and important ways.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Festival this year, but come January it will be time for me to step aside and devote more time to my own photographic career and my new home in California. I will miss Chicago and the incredible Midwest photo community and thank you all for making Filter so special!

Best wishes,

Sarah Hadley

Seven years ago I moved to Chicago with the goal of working within the local photographic arts community. I went to a coffee shop and sat sending out emails to a handful of local photographers, including one named Sarah Hadley. She suggested meeting to talk about an idea she'd had: holding a day of portfolio reviews here in the city.

And the rest is history! Or (as anyone who's ever worked for a small nonprofit knows), the rest has been hard work, good luck, and an incredible amount of community support. Thanks so much to everyone I've met, worked with, and learned from over the years. Not least, to the staff and volunteers who have contributed so much energy and passion to our mission of advancing Chicago's photographic arts community. I am so proud of what we have built together since that summer back in 2009.

I'll be continuing within the greater arts community as a writer and as a director at LATITUDE, and this September I will join the Visual & Critical Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of a graduate degree. The decision to step down from my position at the end of this year was not an easy one to make, but it does allow me the opportunity to enjoy all that Filter Photo has to offer as an perennial attendee, right alongside all of you. Thank you again for making this experience so worthwhile.

James Pepper Kelly
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