SPOTLIGHT/November 10, 2012

Dear Spotlight Readers:


Since we announced the Photography Fellowship in Africa last week, we have been overwhelmed with submissions. We expect that as the deadline approaches on December 7, the pace will only increase. We are very proud to be partnering with the nonprofit organization, Management Sciences for Health, from Cambridge, Massachusetts on this program to offer three photographers a $4,000 honoraria to work in Africa for two weeks to document MSH's global health projects.  


The world stage never goes dark, and the last few weeks have been as tumultuous as any. The US elections are finally over after more than a year of rancorous campaigning and billions of dollars spent to, in the end, maintain the status quo in the White House and Congress. Only a week prior to the elections, the northeast United States was buffeted by one of the worst storms in history, turning off lights, heat, water, and transportation for millions. Our hearts go out to those, two weeks later, who still do not have power and to the many who have lost their homes and businesses.  


But nothing on the world stage right now is as troubling as the war in Syria. Both sides--the government and the opposition--are entrenched in a bitter battle leaving thousands of civilians dead and tens of thousands fleeing to neighboring countries. The international community has been powerless to prevent the carnage, and the coalitions that came together over Afghanistan, Libya, or the Balkans see no partner for peace or stability in Syria., now four years old, is here to provide a platform for photographers documenting the world stage to present their work to an international community that recognizes the importance of images to tell important stories of global and local issues. We welcome your work. Please keep it coming!


Best regards, 


Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder and Director 


Featured Exhibits   



Photograph by Alvaro Laiz. Robina, who suffers from HIV and lost her husband, poses with her family at their home in Lwero, Uganda. 


Memory Books       

Photographs by Alvaro Laiz      

A Memory Book is a familiar album made of photos and drawings. A Memory Book is the legacy left by Ugandan women with HIV who, 20 years ago, decided to fight against the illness and the rootlessness it causes, taking care of their sons and daughters even after their death.


View the exhibit.  

Other Recently Added Exhibits


Haiti's Generation of Amputees

Albertina d'Urso
Forty thousand Haitian children are living with terrible injuries as a result of the devastating earthquake in January 2011.
Jeffrey Sockbridge

Kensington Blues 

Jeffrey Stockbridge
Kensington Blues focuses on the men, women and children who struggle to survive along Kensington Ave in North Philadelphia.
Photography Fellowship in Africa

Three photographers will be awarded a $4,000 fellowship, plus travel expenses, to spend two weeks working in Africa to document the global health projects of Management Sciences for Health.  

Deadline for entries: December 7, 2012

More information>> 

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Mighty Jambo Circus
Photographs by Jennifer Huxta


Photograph by Jennifer Huxta. Milkah Wanjai balances on a metal cylinder while juggling rings and a hoola hoop.    


Mighty Jambo Circus Academy in Githurai, Kenya is a professional acrobatic training program for teens and youth from Nairobi's slums. For two years, room and board is provided; from 5:30 to 18:30, they practice handstands, juggle, and perform acrobatic acts on the trapeze, unicycle and tight rope. Via Mighty Jambo's outreach program, the students teach workshops with kids in Githurai and perform at local schools. Githurai is a busy residential and market area 12km from central Nairobi, yet half of the population (of about 320,000) lives below the poverty line. Mighty Jambo provides an alternative space for kids and youth to engage in art and sports and learn a trade.


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Right to Relief: Palliative Care in India 
Photographs by Brent Foster


Photograph by Brent Foster. A fourteen-year-old cancer patient in Hyderabad. He takes morphine to control his pain.


The Indian government's restrictive drug policies keep most dying patients from getting morphine. Instead, thousands of sick people are left to die without any pain relief. This essay and multimedia piece takes a look at conditions for cancer patients throughout India.

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Crying Meri: Violence Against Women in Papua New Guinea
Photographs by Vlad Sohkin  

Photograph by Vlad Sohkin.  Omsy Evo'o Koivi (31), ex-member of "Kips Kaboni" ("Red Devils") Raskol gang, with his wife Carol Koivi (24) in their house. Omsy was a rapist and a thief, but few years ago he left his gang activities and became a bass guitarist.


In Papua New Guinea two thirds of women are constantly exposed to domestic violence and about 50% of women become victims of sexual assaults (in Highlands Region it goes up to 97%). Local men don't respect their meris ("meri" in Pidgin means "woman"), constantly beating them, often using bush knives and axes. The main danger comes from the Raskol gangs that rule the settlements in the capital city. Raping women is a "must" for the young members of the gang.

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Kids of Sodom: E-Waste in Ghana
Photographs by Kai Loeffelbein


Photograph by Kai Loeffelbein. A scrap dealer counts his money.


In 2008, the U.S. generated 3.16 million tons of electrical waste. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons, or 13.6%, was recycled. The rest was trashed - in landfills or incinerators. Often the waste is labeled as secondhand or even development aid and circumvents prohibitions and controls. Only 20 to 30 percent of goods are still functional, the rest is toxic waste that ends up in landfill sites in Ghana. There, mostly children dismantle the toxic electrical appliances without any safety precautions. Children, who are sometimes only six years old, are involved in the dangerous recovery of the materials.

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Energy Poverty in Nepal
Photographs by Nichole Sobecki


Photograph by Nichole Sobecki. A street in Kathmandu lit only by the headlights of a car.


Across Nepal, from rural villages to Kathmandu, most people are forced to live and work without light, despite the fact that Nepal is a nation with huge hydropower potential. Depending on the season, electricity can be available for a mere four hours a day in Nepal's capital city, and often not when one needs it. Rural electrification is much less predictable. Children study by the light of candles, and shops are forced to close with the sun. Industries operate far below capacity, crippling a nation trying to emerge from the vicious cycle of poverty.


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Enduring Afghanistan
Photographs by Mark Burrell


Photograph by Mark Burrell. Kunar Province, Afghanistan - Soldiers assigned to Abu Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Bulldog, give a final salute to their six fallen brethren during a memorial service at Combat Outpost Honaker - Miracle in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar Province, Nov. 21, 2010. 


"Conflict is a constant in our world and I want to be the eyes on the ground. In doing so, the burden to tell the conflict zone story is immense. Dreams and nightmares make up the landscape of the people who live in Afghanistan. These are the images that float in and out of my dreams and nightmares."


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In The Shadow of Sana'a
Photographs by Tobin Jones


Photograph by Tobin Jones. In a quieter alley in Sana'a's old city, two young boys sweep up dust and refuse that have accumulated over the course of the day. 


"Al Muhamasheen", meaning "The Marginalized One" in Arabic, is a term in Yemen reserved for the lowest of the low. You can usually see these people, mostly consisting of Yemen's darker skinned population, in the small alleyways of Sana'a, dutifully sweeping away the refuse thrown onto the streets. Considered dirty and lazy, the Muhamasheen have held such jobs for as long as most can remember. Here they make up what would essentially be the equivalent of the untouchable caste in India. Ostracized by the general population in Yemen, they are forced to live and work in the shadows of one of the world's oldest cities.


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Faces of Fond des Blancs
Photographs by Paul Schnaittacher


Photograph by Paul Schnaittacher. Young girl with her baby sister at a health clinic.  


I spent a week in Haiti working with the St. Boniface Foundation. This is a human rights group which provides healthcare and educational services to thousands in the Fond des Blancs region of Haiti. I was there to create a library of photos for their use. I was inspired by the St Boniface staff, volunteers, and the people of Haiti. They are a proud, resilient, resourceful, spiritual  people.


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Chasing the African Dream
Photographs by Sam Wolson

Sam Wolson

Photograph by Sam Wolson. Reymond continues to search for 'greener pastures' in South Africa.  


Reymond Mapakata, an illegal Zimbabweian immigrant, has been living in South Africa for the last 5 years. He has been arrested 5 times, beaten by police, and has been living in a church turned refugee camp that houses over 1500 people each night. Reymond went to Johannesburg seeking "greener pastures" for himself and his family in Zimbabwe but still struggles for a consistent meal. Reymond's treatment as a refugee is not unusual, and is in fact mild compared to others. This story explores Reymond's roots in Zimbabwe and his current life in Johannesburg.


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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.