SPOTLIGHT/June 21, 2012   

Featured Exhibits 


Isabell Zipfel

Photograph by Isabell Zipfel.  Jharia Coalfields, India. 


The Jharia Coalfields 

Photographs by Isabell Zipfel   

In Jharia, India, 600,000 people live in the middle of one of India's biggest coal mining areas. There's nothing in it for most of them. Quite the opposite: the soil, the water and the air are now contaminated. The story of Jharia is the story of how the greed for profit, vested interests, and the thirst for power have prevailed and led to one of the areas richest in minerals in India remaining economically backward. 


View the exhibit.  

Other Recently Added Exhibits

Sara Hopkins

Manifestation of the Sisters

Sara Hopkins
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a group of people who are man or woman, of varying orientations, who have chosen to be a part of something much larger than their individual selves.

Mark Azavedo

Matchmaking in Dalian, China... Parent Power or New Democracy?  

Mark Azavedo
The family is the bedrock of Chinese society. The parenting model is solidly interventionist and possibly at its strongest around choice of marriage partner. This exhibit questions whether things are changing.

Giles Clarke

"Odessa" May 2012

Giles Clarke
Odessa is located on the Black Sea in Ukraine. It is the biggest port in the area and is home to many Chechen immigrants who continue to arrive here after 15 years of war.

Ed Lefkovicz

New York's native speakers of Nahuatl

Ed Lefkowicz
Nahuatl was officially banned for a time in Mexico, and has only recently been accepted there. Speakers have faced discrimination, both in Mexico and in the US.

Mariusz Smiejek

You will never see your home. (Immigrants in Tel Aviv)

Mariusz Smiejek
A large number of illegal immigrants from Africa enter Israel illegally, mainly through the fenced border between Israel and Egypt.
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La Familia: Chuc Xul
Photographs by Robb Pancioni

Robb Pacnioni

Photograph by Robb Pancioni. The family. 


In just about any culture, the bed is a personal place. A place that symbolizes security and comfort. It's like the home within our homes. On March 14, 2012 Robb Pancioni found himself on a bed that was as far from his as a bed could be. In this case, the bed was about 70% of the home. Across from it was a small propane stove that was placed on top of what doubled as the second clothing shelf and pantry. All around him hung laundry that was both recently washed but never cleaned. This was the house of Manuel and Heidi Chuc Xul in a small town outside of La Antigua, Guatemala. 


View the exhibit. 

Kibera's Classrooms, Kenya
Photographs by Rubén Salgado Escudero

Ruben Salgado Escudero

Photograph by Rubén Salgado Escudero.   


This series was taken at an elementary school located inside of Kibera, Kenya, Africa's largest urban slum. The photographer, Rubén Salgado Escudero, spent a few days in the classrooms with the children and wanted to depict an everyday story in these childrens' lives at school. The school holds approximately 500 students having classes in very challenging conditions. Classrooms here are falling apart and are lacking basic needs such as electricity. The staff do their best with what they have, offering the children a safe and comfortable teaching environment, away from the dire conditions which they live in. 


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China: Shanghai Minhang District
Photographs by Jean-Philippe Gauvrit

Jean-Philippe Gauvrit

Photograph by Jean-Philippe Gauvrit. Shanghai Minhang District, 2012.     


Minhang is located at the western side of Shanghai. It has been dedicated to industrial and economic activity for many years and also mixing with residential neighborhoods. The landscape has substantially changed over the years with new industries and populations, and a middle-class emerging and requiring new infrastructure and retail services.   


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In Peaceful Hell
Photographs by Ranak Martin

Ranak Martin

Photograph by Ranak Martin. Kayakers, Manly Beach, Sydney 2012.


More then 850 prostitutes live at the Kandhapara brothel in Tangail, Bangladesh. Most of them were kidnapped or brought here by trickery. They came here at a young age and some of them are already mothers. Not only do they live at a very high risk of sexually transmitted diseases but also illegal drugs. Both the mother and the child are being exposed to verbal and physical abuse, which makes their everyday life difficult. Education and healthy living is a luxury to them but they still try to find peace in a place like this. 


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Invisibles: Horn of Africa
Photographs by Emmanuel Martin

Emmanuel Martin

Photograph by Emmanuel Martin. Untitled.


They come from the Ethiopian highlands, Mogadishu in Somalia, they run from all the same poverty, civil war, the drought and famine, and find themselves on the roads of exile.  


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Photographs by Jenn Ackerman

Jenn Ackerman

Photograph by Jenn Ackerman. Even though he has memorized the Bible from front to back, an inmate on 23-hour lock down listens to a correctional officer read a passage to him.


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.  

SDN News  

Join SDN at Photoville for a Panel Discussion on The New Documentary

Panelists: Jessica Dimmock, Lori Grinker, Ed Kashi  

Moderator: Glenn Ruga 
Sunday, June 24, 2:45 pm, Brooklyn Bridge Park 


SDN is back in Brooklyn, this time for a panel discussion on The New Documentary at the inaugural Photoville, part country fair, part photo festival, whose centerpiece is over 30 shipping containers of exhibition space showcasing international and local talent. For more information on Photoville and directions, visit   

The New Documentary

This panel discussion will explore where documentary photography is heading in the second decade of the 21st century by first looking at where it was historically, and then discussing how it is evolving. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of motion in contemporary documentary photography. 


Each panelist in this discussion is a leading practitioner in the field and has successfully used the medium of still and motion photography to engage their audience in discussion about critical issues facing both our globally-interconnected world as well as our local and very personal communities.


Audience engagement encouraged.

SDN Partners with International Journal of Media and Information Policy (MIPJ)           


MIPJ Journal SDN is pleased to announce a partnership with the International Journal of Media and Information Policy (MIPJ) and congratulates MIPJ on the release of their inaugural issue on June 15, 2012. The print/digital edition focuses on the relationship among media, information, and international and humanitarian affairs, particularly during international crisis, conflict, and disaster.

The Co-Editor and Photo Editor is Gary Knight, VII Photographer and Founder; 2010 Nieman Fellow; and Founder/Director of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at Tufts University.


The first issue features photographs by Brian Driscoll on Political Prisoners of the Egyptian Revolution . This work recently received honorable mention in the SDN Art of Documentary exhibition at the New York Photo Festival.



SDN Photographer, Johanna Lipper, Wins  Gucci Tribeca Award. Spotlighting Women Documentary Filmmakers           

Johanna Lipper is one of three filmmakers who will collectively receive $50,000  in funding for the 2012 Spotlighting Women Documentary Award for her film The Supreme Price, which tells the story of Hafsat Abiola. Following the annulment of her father's victory in Nigeria's Presidential election and her mother's assassination by the military dictatorship, Hafsat faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria's most marginalized population--women. Click for more information on the Gucci Tribeca Film Fund.

Lipper has three exhibits on SDN. Click here to see her SDN home page. 

SDN Sponsors Children's Eyes on Earth, the International Youth Photo Contest            

childrens eyes on earth The International Children and Youth Photography Contest and Festival raises awareness to important environmental issues through the eyes of children. It unites children and youth from around the world to promote public awareness and inspire adults to take action. Participants' challenge is to cultivate an environmental connection through imagery. It's a unique opportunity to explore photography as an artistic medium that addresses crucial issues, bringing them to families, professionals, decision-makers, and the international community at large. The festival and traveling exhibition is an international event. They will be held in major metropolitan cities all over the world. Organizations, institutions, and international media, will raise awareness on environmental issues worldwide.

For more information: 

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.