En Foco began in 1974 as a handful of New York Puerto Rican photographers displaying their work at summer block parties in the South Bronx, neighborhood bodegas and Greenwich Village coffee houses. They were united by a desire to present positive images of the Puerto Rican community by its own artists.

In time it came to represent not only Puerto Rican and Latino photographers but also those of African, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American and Aleutian heritage.

Through touring exhibitions and publications, En Foco provides both emerging and mid-career artists with professional recognition, honoraria and technical assistance. It disseminates their work though the quarterly bilingual journal Nueva Luz, and its touring-gallery program mounts temporary exhibits in public libraries, universities, banks and other community spaces thereby reaching a broad public.

The center also sponsors the New Works Photography Award, which allows photographers to submit portfolios that explore themes emanating from their personal experiences in any fine-art style or genre. En Foco also maintains a slide registry regularly consulted by professional curators, gallery owners, publishers and others. Moreover, the organization provides essential mentoring for those seeking feedback from professionals in the field.