Who We Are


Focus On AIDS is America’s largest and most prestigious auction fundraiser of rare, vintage and contemporary photographs in support of AIDS research, care and education. Founded in 1987, our twelve previous auctions have raised over $3 million, of which all net proceeds have been donated to leading HIV/AIDS initiatives around the globe.

Our nonprofit 501(c)3 organization is completely volunteer driven and is reliant on the generosity and resources of the greater photography community. Our auctions benefit our own Focus on AIDS initiatives (including a hospital in Mysore, India and an orphanage/shelter in Tanzania) as well as other global and local AIDS charities with proven records for outstanding research, education, and rehabilitation.

The upcoming auction, Focus on AIDS 13 offers both serious art collectors and photography lovers a chance to view and bid on some of the most celebrated and cutting-edge photography at an event that is renown for its elegance and essential good will.


Focus on AIDS was born when the world renown fashion illustrator, Antonio Lopez, passed away from AIDS after being cared for by Susan Baraz in her Los Angeles home. His last interview was for the magazine “Vue” which was owned by Hossein Farmani. Antonio’s death came at a time when AIDS was a secret disease. Hossein had the idea to create a photography benefit to raise funds and awareness about the impact of AIDS on the greater creative community. Both Susan and Hossein, coming from the photography and fashion worlds, founded Focus on AIDS in October of 1987.

Our logo was created by artist Keith Haring specifically for our first auction – his enthusiastic championing of this event was invaluable. We use this logo today in his honor, to remember the early days of HIV/AIDS, and to remind ourselves how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

Susan Baraz, Chair

Susan Baraz graduated with honors from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY with a dual degree in fashion illustration and photography. She has consulted with major photographers, edited fine art photography books, curated shows for top galleries, and is respected widely for her recommendations of talent to galleries across the country. Along with Rhoni Epstein, Baraz creates commercial and fine art portfolios for new and established photographers and advises them on marketing strategy. She is also the Co-Chair of the Lucie Awards, and is the West Cost marketing consultant for AtEdge.

Hossein Farmani, Founder

Hossein Farmani was born in Tehran, Iran, the son of a middle class iron worker in a family of three brothers and three sisters. A multi-talented entrepreneur, Hossein has left his mark on the photography world. His credits include the award-winning Vue, the first Los Angeles based fashion magazine; Fotofolio, now a permanent part of the Library of Congress collection; Focus on AIDS, and most, recently, the founder and president of The Lucie Awards, saluting the achievements of the world’s finest photographers, and promoting the appreciation of photography around the world.

  • Hossein Farmani

  • Susan Baraz

  • Janet Pett Davies

  • Ron Bakal
  • Robert Berman
  • Marjorie Ornston
  • Jodi Rappaport

  • Bethany Coleman
  • Rhoni Epstein
  • Homa Ferdowsi
  • Bill Hannigan
  • Cynthia Held