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January 3, 2013


Happy New Year! I am honored to present these 10 projects submitted to SDN in 2012 as representing exemplary work from the past year. In choosing these exhibits, we weighed the factors of 1) the strength of the photographic images, and 2) the ability to tell a compelling a story using images and text. We are excluding work that has received other awards from SDN this past year since we want to showcase work from a greater variety of  photographers.

SDN welcomes submissions by photographers who have powerful stories to tell about the global human condition. Click here to learn how to submit your work.

SDN is proud to announce a new partnership this year with Picture of the Year International (POYi). Each of the 2012 highlighted photographers featured here will receive one free submission to POYi's 2013 competition. Deadline for submissions to POYi is January 16. Click here for more information.
I would like to thank all the photographers who have submitted exhibits over the past year for participating in this global community of image makers and image viewers, all of whom recognize the power of photography to explore -- and in some cases change -- the global human condition.

I wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year and I look forward to sharing with you new work submitted from all corners of the world in the weeks and months ahead.

Warmest regards,

Glenn Ruga
Founder and Director

PS. Exhibits are listed in alphabetical order by photographers' last name.

We Sold a Winner
United States
by Edie Bresler

Photograph by Edie Bresler. Azores Tobacco in Fall River Massachusetts sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket August 2011. The owner received a $10,000 commission.

Edie Bresler's photographs focus on the family-owned neighborhood markets and convenience stores where a winning million dollar scratch ticket was sold. Although disarmingly vacant on the surface, these stores are sites that mask complex social and economic exchanges involving power, capital and desire.

Click to view exhibit.  

Women's issues and health in Malawi
by Alfredo Caliz

Photograph by Alfredo Caliz. Patriak Rita, 12 years. Read Lipongwe School. Through a scholarship program is persuaded to continue his studies after his parents died.

These photos were taken in Malawi in different projects run by the NGO Action Aid. All the projects we visited were related to women's issues such as education, HIV, or sexuality. We interviewed women working in these fields of action. Social workers were strongly involved in the problems women faced in their communities.

Click to view exhibit.  

by Suvra Das

Suvra Das
Photograph by Suvra Das. Two young boy fight with boxing gloves inside of their living place. Dhaka, Bangladesh.

This is a story about a group of boys; their age is under sixteen and they have a dream to be a boxer. Most of the boys came from a life of uncertainty and instability. They drop out from school and now, except for boxing, they have nothing to do. They live their life boxing and it is everything for them.

Click to view exhibit.  

Millennium Arts
by Esmaeil Haghparast

Photograph by Esmaeil Haghparast

Photographs of the thousand-year-old art of pottery in Iran

Click to view exhibit.  

Darjeeling Tea Estates
Susan Kessler

Susan Kessler
Photograph by Susan Kessler. Village Children.

At the foothills of the Himalayas, in West Bengal, India, lies the city of Darjeeling. Its elevation of 6,710 ft. (2,050 m.) above sea level, combined with its cool, moist climate, rich soil and generous amounts of rainfall come together to create perfect conditions for growing and producing tea-for which the region has become world-renown.

The steep mountain slopes preclude the use of trucks or tractor-mounted machinery, so the tea leaves are plucked by hand, usually by women. Tea workers and their families receive modest housing, an education for their children, monetary allowances, and other benefits. A glimpse into the lives of the tea workers revealed a very simple and primitive, yet seemingly content and peaceful existence.

Click to view exhibit.  

Ulaanbaatar and the End of Nomadism
by Mark Leong

Mark Leong
Photograph by Mark Leong. A traditional child acrobat stands before a line of fashion models at a boy-band pop concert sponsored by the formerly Soviet-run APU vodka factory.

Mongolians have been nomadic herders since prehistoric times, but over the past decade they have been abandoning their flocks to pitch their gers (yurts) by this city on the steppe. A combination of lethal winters and a rising, lucrative gold and copper mining industry is driving this societal change. Since 2000, Ulaanbaatar's population has grown from 650,000 to well over 1 million, nearing half of Mongolia's 2.8 million. This sudden shift has its growing pains.

Click to view exhibit.  

Waiting for an Opportunity
Sierra Leone
by Fernando Moleres

Fernando Moreles
Photograph by Fernando Moleres. Juveniles in Prison, Sierra Leone, Pademba Road Prison, February. 2010.

This exhibit explores the situation of minors held in the maximum-security prison of Pademba in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Many of them spend years awaiting trial living in terrible conditions. The juveniles are released after long periods without rehabilitation. The lack of opportunities when they go out is directly related with recidivism rates. The new project now is focused on following these young people once they leave jail, whether they return with their families or are abandoned to the streets. For the majority of these minors, no one is waiting for them outside.

Click to view exhibit.  

Hurricane Sandy-the 100 Year Storm
United States
by Ruddy Roye

Ruddy Roye
Photograph by Ruddy Roye. The Madonna stands resolute.

New York has seen a few storms but none with the power and devastation like Hurricane Sandy. New Yorkers watched for days as the storm slowly and inexorably made its way up the eastern seaboard. In the beginning, Sandy was just an undistinguished category 1 storm with 75-mph winds just barely qualifying it as a hurricane. When it was over, more than 113 people were dead, 23 of them on Staten Island.

Click to view exhibit.  

First a mother, then a Chechen
by Marielle van Uitert and Margreeth Fernhout

Photograph by Marielle van Uitert. Tahita holding one of her most beloved properties in Moscow: the picture of her daughter, Selima.

With Putin on the line, the future for Chechnya is again unsure. The fate of President Kadyrov in Chechnya is closely connected with Putin. But the Chechen mothers have other things to worry about than politics. Their children are much more important.

Click to view exhibit.  

Ancient commercial city Hong Jiang
by XingKai OuYang

XingKai OuYang
Photograph by XingKai OuYang. Li Fengying (left) became a child bride (a baby or teenager who is raised by her future husband's family) when she was 12. In 1944, in order to escape the War she fled from Shaodong to Hong Jiang.

Hong Jiang is a town with an important historical legacy, and its people are a solemn and dignified group. This old town has been very well preserved, rich in content, and looks like "Qingming Shanghe Tu," a hand scroll painting, directly portraying a panoramic view of the lives of all levels of society, of the periods of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the Republic of China. Experts name it "a living fossil of the emergence of capitalism in China inland."

Click to view exhibit.  

Submit your work to SocialDocumentary.net
SDN welcomes submissions by photographers who have powerful stories to tell about the global human condition. Work submitted to SDN will be eligible for:

*Publication on our home page
*Inclusion in our email Spotlight sent to 5,000 readers each month
*Recognition in Highlights of 2013
*Entry to SDN competitions

Click here to learn how to submit your work.

SDN welcomes new partnership with POYi
POYi Picture of the Year International (POYi) is offering each of these ten photographers a complimentary entry to the 2013 POYi awards. This prestigious award program is open to all photographers and the deadline for entry is January 16, 2013. SDN and POYi value a shared mission to promote the work of socially conscious photographers and honor the highest caliber of world-class documentary photography. The sincere goal of this alliance is to inspire an unwavering eye on social injustice and human conflict as a call to consciousness and an invitation to action. For full details and to enter, see www.poyi.org
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SDN Staff 

Glenn Ruga 
Founder and Director

Barbara Ayotte 
Communications Director

Caterina Clerici
Matthew Lomanno

SDN Advisory Committee

Paul Cummings

Lori Grinker
Steve Horn
Ed Kashi
Susan Mazer
John Sevigny
Steve Walker
Frank Ward

About SocialDocumentary.net
SocialDocumentary.net 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.