SPOTLIGHT/May 10, 2012   


Dear SDN Spotlight Readers:


As this issue of Spotlight goes to press, we are getting ready for the New York Photo Festival (May 16-20) where we will exhibit the winners of our call for entries on The Art of Documentary at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. I hope you can join us!


Two of the exhibitors from the call for entries, Brian Driscoll and Angelo Merendino, will be giving a gallery talk on their work beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 19.  


I also hope you can join us to experience 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 7:00 pm.  


Please visit the New York Photo Festival website for updated information.  


Best regards,


Glenn Ruga  


Featured Exhibits 



Photograph by Suvra Das.  Two palowans practicing with Gada. 



Photographs by Suvra Das  

The ancient tradition of Indian wrestling, known as kushti, thrives in wrestling gyms, or akhara. Akhara are one of the few places where Hindu men from different castes are considered equals. But as modernity sweeps India and Western sports, like cricket, become more popular, some akhara are being abandoned. While some prominent, government-run gyms switched to mats for Olympic-style wrestling, akhara in villages and towns maintain the old ways.


View the exhibit.  

Other Recently Added Exhibits


100 Clicks 4 Change

Shoot4Change is an international network of voluntary photographers that raises public awareness on social issues in the forgotten places of the world.


Eviction and Destruction

George Nickels
In Siem Reap, nearly 400 Cambodian and Vietnamese families have been evicted from their homes.


Scarlet Macaw Vet Check

Santiago Billy
In the jungle of La Corona, PetÚn, Guatemala, three scarlet macaw pigeons are given a vet check.


Workers Excluded

Diana Duarte
Today more than 40,000 waste pickers in Buenos Aires scavenge for recyclable junk, glass, cardboard and plastics to sell to corporations as a means of survival.


Last of the Bloodsports

Ted McDonnell
In East Timor, young and old alike support cockfighting.


Displaced: The Cambodian Diaspora

Pete Pin
In the early to mid-1980s, over 150,000 Cambodians resettled in America from refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border.


The Market is Closed

Saeed Kiaee
Tehran's Grand Bazaar remains the largest market of its kind in the world.


Dead by Default

Peter Barry
A photographer living in Baltimore, Maryland, shows the signs of its murder rate and conditions.
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After Magdalene
Photographs by Ethna O'Regan


Photograph by Ethna O'Regan. #1. 


One of the infamous Magdalen Laundries in Dublin was the last to be closed. Until 1996, forty women had still lived in the institution. Many continued to stay there, unable to return to an independent way of existence, until they were re-housed approximately six years ago. Made between 2007 and 2009, these photographs show this convent not long after their re-habitation.   


View the exhibit. 

In the Shadow of the Pyramids
Photographs by Laura El-Tantawy













Photograph by Laura El-Tantawy.  A woman wears the hijab on a street in Cairo while a reflection casts the words used to confess one's endorsement of Islam: "There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is his Prophet."


This work, begun in 2005, began by exploring Egyptian identity and has since expanded to the trials and tribulations of a country in transition: the time of Mubarak, the revolution and its looming future.


View the exhibit. 

Growing up Mardi Gras Indian
Photographs by Kimberly Edwards










Photograph by Kimberly Edwards. Three little Indian girls.  


The Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans are not just people in colorful costumes but part of a long and complex tradition. Indian "gangs" are made up almost exclusively of African Americans but "mask Indian" in honor of the Native Americans who historically offered assistance to runaway slaves.


View the exhibit.

City de Noir 
Photographs by Ireneusz Luty










Photograph by Ireneusz Luty. Kayakers, Manly Beach, Sydney 2012.


Sydney is re-imagined and re-presented in a dark, mysterious, and illusory way.


View the exhibit.  


The Mentally Disabled in Bandar Abbas
Photographs by Amir Hossein Khorgouei


Photograph by Amir Hossein Khorgouei. Untitled.


A series concerning the lives of the mentally disabled at a center in Bandar Abbas, Iran. 


View the exhibit.  


SDN News  

DEADLINE TODAY: 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. 

Spotlight Editor: Matthew Lomano