SPOTLIGHT/November 25, 2012

Dear Spotlight Readers:


The response to the Photography Fellowship in Africa has been tremendous. On one day alone, we received more than 25 new members. What is most exciting is that for the first time we are getting many new members from Africa.

One possible misunderstanding about this Fellowship competition is that we are only looking for photographers from North America or Europe. We want to emphasize that we encourage submissions from Africa and from any country in the world*. Aside from the requirements that the winners are excellent photographers with experience working in challenging environments, the only other requirement is that the photographers have proficient English language skills. With these in mind, submissions are encouraged from Turkey to Tunisia to Thailand to Taiwan to Tennessee and anywhere in between.

We also want to remind our long time members that you can convert any existing SDN exhibit into a competition entry. You will notice a button for this on the edit page of your exhibit. If your exhibit is expired, you will need to renew it first.

The unprecedented interest in this Fellowship is clearly due the honoraria being offered by Management Sciences for Health to the three winners. SDN is very excited to be able to provide to photographers what they need more than anything; a model for sustainability in their chosen field. With the decline of print journalism and the economics of online publications, the demand for quality photography, and the rates being offered, has suffered tremendously. The fact that this Fellowship is supported by an NGO is not unique but is part of a trend in the last ten years where NGOs are realizing how important quality photography is to the success of their work. We hope that other NGOs may learn from this experiment and begin providing similar opportunities for photographers.  


Best regards, 


Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder and Director    


PS. The deadline for entries to the Photography Fellowship in Africa is December 7. 


* Due to economic sanctions, there are a few countries from where we cannot accept submissions. SDN is not taking a position on this requirement but regrets that there may be very qualified photographers who cannot fairly compete due to such tensions between nations.  


Featured Exhibits   


Jake Belvin

Photograph by Jake Belvin. A Maasai boy operates the rope pump in his village. 


Maji Safi kwa Afya Bora: Clean Water for Better Health         

Photographs by Jake Belvin      

2012 saw the increase in cell phone subscriptions to almost six billion, while one in six globally still lack clean drinking water. Important projects in clean water and sanitation are as vital as ever on the world stage and the global water crisis must remain on the forefront of the developed world's priorities. This exhibit shows the work of one NGO in their effort to expand clean water access in Africa.    


View the exhibit.  

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>> 

Other Recently Added Exhibits

Steve Cagan

Aguasal, El Chocó, Colombia 

Steve Cagan
In 2012, combat between the armed forces of Colombia and the guerrillas, and especially aerial bombardments by the government, forced villagers to flee to Aguasal.

Ben Rosenzweig


Ben Rosenzweig
Although Cubans live under an oppressive government, they find happiness and hope in their communities, music, and family.

Johnny C Y Lam

The first 13 minutes of each day living with HIV in Rwanda

Johnny C Y Lam
Living without running water and battling against HIV, Princess, her younger sister and her mother all rely on antiretroviral drugs to stay strong in their battle.

Carol Allen Storey

Angels at the Edge of Darkness

Carol Allen Storey
This project focuses on Sub-Saharan African women affected with the HIV/AIDS virus. The collection of essays provide narratives of their personal experiences conquering the consequences of this intrusive killer; illuminating their resilience, indomitable spirit and courage.

Todd Shepera

Stone Cutters and Laborers near Likoni, Kenya

Todd Shapera
Likoni, Kenya is the poorest area of Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city and East Africa's largest port. Workers earn $2-4 per day from informal street vending, stone quarrying, and day labor at the port. It's enough to pay for family food and rent for one room homes with no plumbing.

Stephen Petegorsky

Work with The Polus Center

Stephen Petegorsky
"I have worked as a volunteer with the Polus Center for Social and Economic Development since 1998, documenting their efforts to assist people with disabilities in developing countries."

Matthew Van Saun

Un-Thanksgiving Day

Matthew Van Saun
Un-Thanksgiving Day is held on Alcatraz Island. It is a day of prayer, remembrance and political protest. For Native people the popular narrative of Thanksgiving Day is not one of remembering a feast with Pilgrims, but the beginning of genocide for their people.
Fellowship Sponsor


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Rural Moments
Photographs by Rui Pires   
Rui Pires

Photograph by Rui Pires.  Manuela with the junior goats.


In 2007, photographer Rui Pires visited "Covas do Monte" and found one of the last places where the word humanity makes sense. Simple people, workers, people for whom the word "euro" or "political" means nothing. Pires met Maria "Piqueirinha", Maria do Martins, Antonio, Frances, Anne, Luciano and many other wonderful human beings living in absolute community and work in agriculture. They help each other like a big family.

View the exhibit. 

African Country Doctor

Photographs by Poul Madsen

Poul Madsen

Photograph by Poul Madsen. A young mother and her baby daughter wait for discharge in the woman's ward.    


Aira Hospital is located in a remote corner of Western Ethiopia and in proximity to the South Sudan border. The health clinic was originally set up by German missionaries in 1928 but today it is owned by the powerful Ethiopian Mekane Yesus Church which runs it under the motto "Serving the Whole Person".


View the exhibit. 

Delicious Peace: Interfaith Coffee and Music in Uganda 
Photographs by Richard Sobol

Richard Sobol

Photograph by Richard Sobol. Delicious Peace: Peace Kawomera Coffee Cooperative bringing together Muslim, Christians and Jews in Mbale, Uganda.


Imagine if the world never learned how to hate

Far from civilization, a truly civilized world exists. Deep in the bush in Eastern Uganda, live three peoples-- one Christian, one Muslim and the other Jewish -- who have embraced one another not as enemies, but as brothers and sisters. For the past century, they have survived, struggled, and thrived together - most recently establishing and operating a cooperative venture to grow and sell fair trade coffee.


View the exhibit. 

Migration Linked to Prostitution
Photographs by Paolo Patrizi

Paolo Patrizi

Photograph by Paolo Patrizi. An open air room used by sex workers in a field, Rome.


The phenomenon of foreign women, who line the roadsides of Italy, has become a notorious fact of Italian life. These women work in sub-human conditions; they are sent out without any hope of regularizing their legal status and can be easily transferred into criminal networks. Many are Africans working as prostitutes to send money home to their families.

View the exhibit. 

Newborns Trust
South Africa
Photographs by Pippa Hetherington 

Pippa Hetherington

Photograph by Pippa Hetherington. Neonatal ward, Groote Schuur state hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. Cup feeding, too small to suckle.


Each year, almost a million babies die in the first month of life due to complications of childbirth and more than a million die during labor and delivery. Over 99% of all newborn deaths occur in the developing world. The Newborns Trust at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town addresses these challenges by assisting the Department of Neonatal Medicine to provide appropriate health care, research and training to support its function as a clinical model and an academic resource to improve the lives of infants and their families at a regional and national level in South Africa and Africa.


View the exhibit. 

Sulfur Miners in Indonesia
Photographs by Andrés Vanegas Canosa

Andrés Vanegas Canosa

Photograph by Andrés Vanegas Canosa. Miner trying to find some fresh air to breathe. 


In eastern Java (Indonesia) poverty, exploitation, corruption and modern forms of slavery emerge from Mount Ijen, the same way the sulfur spills out around here, uncontrolled. Miners must carry loads, which range from 75kg to 90kg for 5km. They get for each kilogram of hardened yellow sulfur 900 rupees (9 cents of a US dollar), and for 65 kg 54.900 rupees (5.70 US dollars).


View the exhibit. 

Calcutta Rescue
Photographs by Donna Todd 

Donna Todd

Photograph by Donna Todd. Woman preparing the evening meal in a slum area is know as the Canal district. 


Like tight rope walkers, life precariously hangs in the balance for the people who live on the streets and in the slums of Kolkata. The spidery thread between life and death is confronted with determination and grit everyday. Health care to these people is almost non-existent but there is one organization who is dedicated to helping them to survive and stay healthy. Founded in 1979, by Dr Jack Preger, Calcutta Rescue is a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) working to serve the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in Kolkata and rural West Bengal - regardless of gender, age, caste or religion.


View the exhibit. 

The Breadwinners
New York
Photographs by Annie Ling

Annie Ling

Photograph by Annie Ling. Mr. Chu, cubicle #4. Like many of the other men, Chu has been a tenant of the lodge at 81 Bowery for over a dozen years. 


Because many Chinese immigrant laborers live on very little and send most of their earnings to family members in China or distant cities, at the end of the day these breadwinners forfeit a tangible relationship with their wives, children, mothers, and fathers. 81 Bowery, one of the last standing lodging houses in New York City, has been home for more than a generation of immigrant laborers who work at construction sites and kitchens in Chinatown. Today, dozens of individuals are left sharing the fourth floor, each occupying a 64-square-foot cubicle.    


View the exhibit. 

High Spirit: GHANA
Photographs by Ludmila Ketslaskh

Ludmila Ketslakh

Photograph by Ludmila Ketslaskh. Ghana, Accra, Korle Bu hospital.  


High Spirit: GHANA is dedicated to highlighting and exposing the work of non-profit organizations to a wider audience. This project is an appreciation of generosity to all American volunteers and international community who are committed to change and enrich the quality of lives of the thousands of children and their families around the world.


View the exhibit. 

SDN News
2012 FotoVisura Grant 
Open Call Announced

Foto Visura Grant FotoVisura Inc. is delighted to announce the 2012 FotoVisura Grant-which aims to support personal photography projects and encourage the production and development of photography outside the commercial realm. The Grant is divided into two categories:


  • The FotoVisura Grant for Outstanding Personal Project
  • The Spotlight Grant for Outstanding Student Project
Photographers need support. This grant provides financial support to two winners and recognizes a selection of numerous projects as top finalists. FotoVisura stands for community. Through our platforms, we showcase projects by photographers to an international audience and advocate that institutions increase the number of existing photography and photo-related job opportunities. It is truly a movement, and every day the FotoVisura community is making a difference.

Contest closing date is December 15, 2012.


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.