SPOTLIGHT/April 16, 2012   


Dear SDN Spotlight Readers:


I want to thank the more than 100 photographers who entered The Art of Documentary Call for Entries. The level of work that was submitted was fantastic and the decision was difficult. We plan to announce the winners later this week as a special Spotlight. The work in this issue is just a portion of new work that has been submitted to SDN in the final days of the Call for Entries.  


I hope our readers in the New York area will join us at the New York Festival, May 16-20 to view the winning work from the Call for Entries and other work at the Festival, including an exhibition I am curating titled "On the Razor's Edge: Form and Content in Documentary Photography". This will include work by Bruce Davidson, Eugene Richards, Reza, Platon, Lori Grinker, and Rina Castelnuovo. We will have a panel discussion with the artists on this topic on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 pm. Please visit the New York Photo Festival website for updated information as it becomes available.  


Best regards,


Glenn Ruga  


Featured Exhibits 



Photograph by Dina Litovsky.  Untitled. 


Untag This Photo 

Photographs by Dina Litovsky  

Cameras, ever more compact and omnipresent, are increasingly admitted into heretofore 'private' realms: late-night dance halls, erotic events, even in the bedroom. Enabled by the new technologies and encouraged by the Lady Gaga-like conception of femininity, a desire to reveal has transformed into a willingness to expose. With this, self-representation of women has reached a curious state, one where women are both in control of their image and at the same time, participate more than ever in their own objectification.


View the exhibit.  

Other Recently Added Exhibits



Chantal Heijnen
Outsiders mostly know the Bronx for its troubled past. But on the inside, the Bronx is a hidden gem.



Maureen Beitler
Westernport, a coalmining town in the Allegheny Mountains of Western Maryland, is the town where my grandmother was born.



Agnieszka Sosnowska
My new home and our day-to-day routines on a farm in a remote and rural area of East Iceland.


Gender Roles and Appearance

Paris Visone
A series that explores the gender dynamics and sexuality of its subjects.


A Silent Threat

Travis Brown
The Acreage community had been classified as a "pediatric brain tumor cluster" by the Florida Department of Health in February of 2010.


Brúarasskólli, Iceland

Agnieszka Sosnowska
Showing the lives of children in a small Icelandic countryside school.


Inside Outside

Gabriela Bulisova
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.


Atlantic City, NJ

Andreas Tschersich
Peripher functions as a structural, aesthetic and mental momentum.


Thriving After Juvenile Brain Trauma

Lou Jones
Ivy Street School is one of the only schools in the country dedicated to brain injured juveniles.
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Subway Retail
Photographs by Annette Bernhardt

Annette Bernhardt

Photograph by Annette Bernhardt. News stand (with barbershop visible behind it), 34th Street station, Herald Square. 


"Economic development" is starting to reach into New York City's subways.  Small independent retail, barbershops, shoe shine stands, flower shops and others are being replaced by national chain stores and restaurants.  In the process, the visual geography of the subway -- the scale and colors and lighting and composition of retail -- is being transformed.   


View the exhibit. 

Praise the Effort
Photographs by Diana Duarte













Photograph by Diana Duarte.  As in life, competition arises as a motto for survival.


The Catalan tradition of the "Castellers" is an example of commitment, solidarity and strength that bring people together to achieve the objective of united strength.


View the exhibit. 

Mental Illness "Treatment" in US Prisons
Photographs by Jenn Ackerman










Photograph by Jenn Ackerman. Anthony Rosario stares out of the cell he remains in for 23 hours a day..  


The continuous withdrawal of mental health funding has turned jails and prisons across the U.S. into default mental health facilities. The system designed for security is now trapped with treating mental illness, and the mentally ill are often trapped inside the system with nowhere else to go.


View the exhibit.

Life After Prison 
Photographs by Freya Morales










Photograph by Freya Morales. Amy at Astoria Boulevard Subway station.


Amy Jo Meacham is today 42 years old. She was released from prison on February 6, 2012, after a seven-year sentence.


View the exhibit.  


Cotton Land
Photographs by Magdalena Solé

Magdelena Solé

Photograph by Magdalena Solé. Girls with cat and dog, Lampert.


"Cotton Land" is an exploration of communities in the Mississippi Delta. The Mississippi Delta is an iconic region lying between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, running from Memphis, TN to Vicksburg, MS. The Delta evokes visions of sharecroppers, plantations and, of course, the sound of the Blues. The area has a small wealthy gentry and a large impoverished underclass living in dilapidated houses and tilting trailers.  


View the exhibit.  


SDN News

New York Photo Festival 2012 Invitational Deadline Extended 

Deadline extended to April 19


NYPH logo

NYPH'12 is pleased to announce that the inaugural New York Photo Festival Invitational are open!


Begun in 2008 as The New York Photo Awards, the Invitational will allow photographers and artists everywhere to submit their work for exhibit in the New York Photo Festival itself.

The curators of the New York Photo Festival--Amy Smith-Stewart, Glenn Ruga, Claude Grunitzky, and DJ Spooky--will lead small groups of industry and art world professionals in selecting the finest examples of works submitted in the categories of Art Photography, Documentary Work, Advertising, Books, and Multimedia (including a student level for each category).


The exhibitions of the Semi-Finalists, Finalists, and category Winners will take a significant place alongside the NYPH'12 Curators' exhibitions, centered around the theme of this year's New York Photo Festival, the art/doc matrix: where do fine art and documentary photography meet?


The 2012 New York Photo Festival Invitational will provide a unique platform for photographers and artists to be exhibited alongside leading masters and upcoming talents selected by Festival curators, and to be seen by hundreds of thousands of attendees and passersby this May 16-20.


Submissions will also be seen by influential decision-makers in fine art, documentary, and commercial realms via juried online evaluation; special exhibitions will be planned along the category outlines over the summer, and special fall spectacular is planned; sign up to receive news when it is announced in mid-April.


For categories and fees, rules and FAQ, visit:


OSI Documentary Photography Project Announces 2012 Grant Opportunity for Photographers from Central Asia, South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan.          


The Open Society Documentary Photography Project ( and Arts and Culture Program ( announce a grant and training opportunity for documentary photographers from Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan.


The grant is being offered to:

  • Visually document issues of importance in the region; and
  • Provide training and support to photographers from the region. 

Approximately 10 cash stipends in the amount of $3,500 each will be awarded to photographers to produce a photo essay on a current human rights or social issue in the region. Grantees will participate in two master-level workshops on visual storytelling through photography and multimedia. These workshops are led by internationally-recognized photographers and industry professionals who will then provide ongoing mentorship and support throughout the six-month grant term.


The Open Society Foundations will pay travel and hotel expenses and provide a per diem to cover meals and incidentals for the workshops.


The deadline for proposals is May 10, 2012.


For more information on the grant, please visit:  


Inaugural Photoville to be held in Brooklyn Bridge Park, June 22-July 1.          


The first major event from emerging photography collective, United Photo Industries, will include free exhibitions in over 35 shipping containers; site-specific works; outdoor projection shows; tents with vendors, publishers and gear demonstrators; a Camera Obscura; panel discussions and talks; workshops; a foto canine run; food & beer garden
Earlier this year, Sam Barzilay, Laura Roumanos and Dave Shelley launched United Photo Industries, a Brooklyn-based, photographic art-presenting cooperative. From a burgeoning gallery headquarters at 111 Front Street in DUMBO, they have been working with the ambition and energy of an idealist start-up to identify, harness, and conjure unexpected exhibition opportunities, champion new directions in photography and cultivate ties within an ever-expanding, globe-trotting community of photographers.

Their first big dream is a grand and unusual photography event: a photography village, free and open to the public, whose centerpiece will be over 35 shipping containers of exhibition space. The programming will span Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the picturesque and rapidly developing Brooklyn waterfront. Their enthusiasm has been contagious enough-and their idea distinctive enough-to elicit partnerships from a long list of local, national and international media, institutions and curatorial partners. Entitled Photoville, the event will take place June 22-July 1, rain or shine.   

 More info:   

About is a website for photographers, NGOs, journalists, editors, and students to create and explore documentary exhibits investigating critical issues facing the world today. Recent exhibits have explored oil workers in the Niger River Delta, male sex workers in India, Central American immigrant women during their journey north, and Iraqi and Afghan refugees in Greece.Click here to view all of the exhibits.