SPOTLIGHT/October 20, 2012   


Featured Exhibits   



Photograph by Albertina d'Urso. Bus passengers, Pyongyang. 


DPRK: Transition Time      

Photographs by Albertina d'Urso      

The DPRK, better known as North Korea, is a nation which, in the name of Juche Idea (the official state ideology, usually translated as "self-reliance") has isolated itself from the rest of the world and indeed is one of the most difficult to access for foreigners.


View the exhibit.  

Other Recently Added Exhibits

Andrea Mellen

Summer in Belfast, Maine

Andrea Mellen
A documentary study of a group of teens in the summer of 2012 in Belfast Maine.
Stefan Jora

This American Dream

Stefan Jora
For The Gay Families Project, Stefan Jora is producing a photobook featuring American families with parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).

Albertina d'Urso

There Once was Yugoslavia

Albertina d'Urso
These photographs, taken in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, are the puzzle of what was once Yugoslavia.
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Buzkashi Riders
Photographs by Theodore Kaye

Theodore Kaye

Photograph by Theodore Kaye. Buzkashi players fight for possession for the buz during a muddy match in Nojibolo, western Tajikistan.


Popular throughout much of Central Asia, buzkashi is a form of horse polo in which horseback players wrestle a goat carcass across a playing field. Believed to have its origins as a defense tactic against Genghis Khan's livestock-snatching Mongols, the sport is played with few rules and no teams - every man fights for himself.


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Farrow to Finish 
Photographs by Steven Fontas


Photograph by Steven Fontas. Filling a syringe with an iron nutritional supplement.


In 2012, Steven Fontas undertook to learn about the practice of industrial hog production. He found that there were a great number of farmers eager for their story to be told. Faced with years of hidden camera documentaries produced by animal rights organizations, these individuals felt they were unfairly portrayed and many standard practices were simply misunderstood.

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Lord Buddha beheaded, burned, looted
Photographs by Wahid Adnan 

Photograph by Wahid Adnan.  A young monk holds an idol of Lord Buddha with no head.


This exhibit documents the remains of burned, razed and destroyed Buddhist temples and idols of Lord Buddha in Coxs' Bazaar's Ramu Upazilla. The attack on September 30, 2012 by religious fanatics was triggered by a Facebook posting allegedly defaming the Holy Quran.

View the exhibit. 

Ring: Bangladesh
Photographs by Suvra Das

Suvra Das

Photograph by Suvra Das. Al-Amin practices boxing every day in the Mohammad Ali Boxing Stadium. Dhaka, Bangladesh.


This is a story about a group of boys; their age is under sixteen and they each have dreams to be a boxer. Most of the boys come from a life that is uncertain and unstable. They drop out of school and now, except for boxing, they have nothing to do. They live their life with boxing and it is everything for them.

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New England Blue
Photographs by Julio Del Sesto

Julio Del Sesto

Photograph by Julio Del Sesto. A Connecticut blacksmith survives by winning jobs all over the country, including work for Hollywood sets.


"New England Blue" is a documentary series celebrating and representing the individual New England blue collar worker. Having been raised by working class parents, my ties are tight with the subject matter. The project serves to recognize those that build, cultivate and maintain our cultural elements while confronting existing social misconceptions related to the group.


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SDN News  

SDN Participates in International Photography Exhibition on Mental Health 
Six SDN Photographers Exhibit Work in Milan   


Milan Exhibition Catherine Karnow, photographer; Glenn Ruga, SDN Director; and Caterina Clerici, exhibition curator, in front of Karnow's photos of Agent Orange victims during the opening night of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association. 


On the occasion of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association and in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day 2012, the photography exhibition "Invisible Solitudes - Life at the Edge of Mental Health" opened in Milan on October 7.


The exhibition is a selection of thirty photographs by six photographers published on (SDN). The stories selected present an intimate look at psychological suffering and how it expresses itself according to different socio-cultural contexts. At the same time, they aim to denounce the causes of such suffering, as well as the ignorance and the silence surrounding it.


The documentary photographs touch upon a range of themes, from the invisible consequences of war in Afghanistan as portrayed by Diego Ibarra Sanchez, to the terrible legacy of Agent Orange, shot by Catherine Karnow in Vietnam. Jenn Ackerman toured penitentiaries in the United States, while Steve Davis captured the last days of a Seattle-based institution for the developmentally disabled. Magdalena Sole's journey to Japan explores its hidden secret, homelessness in Kamagasaki, while Enrico Fabian's work on prescription drug abuse in India shows the other side of the "pharmacy of the Third World."


The exhibit was curated by Caterina Clerici. 



See photos of exhibition on Flickr.>> 

Improvements to the SDN Website  

To better serve our users and viewers, SDN has been busy behind the scenes working on small and large improvements to the website. These are just some of the improvements we have implemented since the summer:

SDN now supports video 
All exhibits now have the ability to insert  code directly from YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing services. For photographers with work on SDN, or considering posting work on SDN, you will see a new optional field for video. Just copy and past code into this window and this link will become active. When viewers go to your SDN exhibit, they will see a link for video.
Archived exhibits will now appear on the SDN home page 
All live exhibits on the SDN platform will now periodically appear on the SDN home page. If you look at the home page, the bottom three exhibits in the left hand column are randomly drawn from the entire database of exhibits and rotate every few hours.
You can now submit photographs with your documentary news 
We encourage you to submit news about documentary photography, including your own projects, to our news section of the website, appearing in the right column. When you send your information, you will see an option for an image for both the home page and the news details page. Click here to send us your news today!
Permanent 15% reduction in costs for exhibits on SDN 
The standard cost for creating or renewing exhibits on SDN has been reduced to $0.85 USD per image per year with a minimum of six images per exhibit. All exhibits also have the option for a 90-day free trial.

SDN now has a Flickr site 
Why would the premier documentary website need to use Flickr? Because we want to show you work that is not documentary--photos from our exhibits and other programs. Visit our Flickr site to see photos from our most recent exhibition in Milan, the New York Photo Festival, Photoville, and other SDN exhibitions and programs.  
Other behind the scenes changes 
There are numerous other back end changes and improvements we have implemented that will make your experience as an SDN member and user easier and more seamless. If you have any questions about any of these changes, do not hesitate to contact us at
Add your documentary projects to SDN today! 
Your work will be seen by thousands who visit SDN regularly or who read our Spotlight eNewsletters. Your work will also be searchable by photo editors and other image professionals who use the SDN platform to search for quality documentary work.
Click here to start your free membership with 

SDN Congratulates Peter van Agtmael for Winning 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography


Peter van Agtmael 

Mississippi, 2010. Rosie Ricketts picks up son Aiden before the viewing of her husband Seth in Corinth, Miss. Sergeant William "Seth" Ricketts, 27, was killed the previous week in Afghanistan by small-arms fire in Badghis province, a remote and previously uncontested area of western Afghanistan seeing an upsurge in violence. On his fifth tour since joining the Army the day after 9/11, he became the 997th U.S. casualty in the war. Peter van Agtmael. Magnum for TIME.


October 17, 2012 -- The Board of Trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund announced that Brooklyn, New York photographer Peter van Agtmael is the recipient of the prestigious 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography for Disco Night September 11, an American view of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The project earned Mr. van Agtmael a $30,000 grant to continue focussing on these wars, subjects that otherwise would be difficult to finance.  


In addition, Massimo Berruti from Italy received a $5,000 W. Eugene Smith Fellowship for his documentary, The Dusty Path, which looks at Pakistan, a one-time peaceful nation now caught up in violence and political corruption..."a trembling giant on the brink of a deep abyss," as Massimo Berruti describes it.


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.