SDN Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT/Number 124, June 2013   

Dear SDN Readers: 


The Featured Photographer of the Month in this issue of Spotlight is Suvra Das from Bangladesh. Since SDN started 4 1/2 years ago, we have consistently received fantastic work, mostly in black and white, from Bangladesh. Both the photography and writing have been first rate. In our first call for entries in 2009 on the global recession, one of the honorable mentions was Khaled Hasan, also from Bangladesh, for his project Living Stone: A Community Loosing its Life.  


Suvra Das' winning project this month is Valley of Death: The Rana Plaza Garment Building Collapse, a photo essay on the collapse of the Rana Plaza resulting in more than 1,100 deaths and countless injuries. This is the most horrendous of many garment building disasters in this impoverished nation where workers toil under horrid conditions to create fashions for the first world market. We hope that finally the international fashion industry will force stricter labor and building standards on the nations where our clothes are being manufactured.  


If there is one force leading to such great work coming out of Bangladesh, it can be attributed to Shahidal Alam, noted photographer, educator, and founder of the Drik Picture Library in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 


This is the third exhibit that Das has posted to SDN. To see all his exhibits, click here


Glenn Ruga 


SDN Featured Photographer of the Month    


Suvra Das

Photograph by Suvra Das. Mother holds her daughter's picture in front of the collapsed building.  


Valley of Death: The Rana Plaza Garment Building Collapse    

Photographs by Suvra Das      

The Bangladeshi economy fully depends on the garment sector which is 80% of the economy. The salary of a garment worker is less then $50 USD per month. Within that salary they have to live their life. Every year more than 100 garments workers die in fires or collapsed buildings.

This year, an eight story building collapsed in Shavar, Dhaka. The Rana Plaza, comprised of four garment factories, a bank, and commercial shops including electronics and clothes, collapsed at approximately 8:30 am, an hour after garment workers began work on April 24, 2013.

1127 people died and thousands of people severely injured in the collapse. Among the dead, it was impossible to identify 291 bodies. 300 people are still missing. The relatives of the missing people believe that one day their son, daughter or parents will return.

View the exhibit. 

Other Recently Added Exhibits

Tracie Williams

The Night the Raid Came      

Tracie Williams

Quamrul Abedin

Existence Exiled: Baha'is in Egypt

Quamrul Abedin

Ionut Ignat

Hearts, Candles, and Souls 

Ionut Ignat

Gili Yaari

Sixty Five Years Later - Mental Health Center for Holocaust Survivors

Gili Yaari

Artur Gutowski

Rohingya: Stateless and Unwanted

Artur Gutowski

Join the SDN community!
Upload your documentary exhibits and let thousands of photographers, editors, curators, gallerists, students, and the general public learn about you and your projects.

SDN is now offering $200 each month to the photographer who wins the Featured Photographer of the Month award.
Follow Us

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn View our photos on flickr
Hopeless War in Aleppo 
Photographs by Yusuke Suzuki

Yusuke Suzuki

Photograph by Yusuke Suzuki. A soldier of the Free Syrian Army who has had military service teaches a young soldier how to assemble an AK47 in Aleppo, Syria.


It's been two years since the revolution in Syria started in 2011. Bloody battle has spread all over the country. There is no water, electricity, foods, medicines, gas, jobs, schools. They've lost everything. Those who used to be normal citizens of Aleppo take guns and join the Free Syrian Army. They had waited for victory for the past two years, fighting hard and putting their daily lives in very difficult conditions, but the situation has never changed. They feel like they are forgotten and isolated from the international community. People seemed to be pessimistic and they no longer can stand the condition of their daily life. On the other hand, the rebels looked like they are optimistic and believe that they will eventually win. But none of them is sure what is going to happen after they defeat the Assad regime. They say "We really don't have enough time or room to think about after Bashir. We only have time to think how we can win the battle. That's it." Syria has plunged into the chaos of war..


View the exhibit.

Lodz, Poland
Photographs by Oleg Koval 
Oleg Koval

Photograph by Oleg Koval. Romantica.

When you have to live for a long time in Lodz, in spite of the beauty of the city and its architecture, you begin to notice a different side of it, more conventional, but no less intense and meaningful.

Lodz is different from other cities of Poland and other European cities, Lodz is a youth, student city. Most of the photos have been taken on the same street (or streets adjacent to it), the length of which is about 4.2 km - it is the main artery of the city - Piotrkowska Street. The purpose of these frames is try to isolate subjects, moments, circumstances, to become closer to them and leave them etched in memory. 

View the exhibit. 

Heart of Garbage
Photographs by Tahir Hasan

Tahir Hasan

Photograph by Tahir Hasan. Bridal dreams in the city of filth.


This project is based on the world's most efficient garbage recycling community called Mokattam Garbage Village, whose inhabitants are called the Zabbaleen. What began as a squatters' area, is now spread over approximately 2.8 square kilometers interspersed with buildings having on an average of 5-6 stories.
Heart of Garbage is a story of how life unfolds within a village where almost everything begins and ends with waste. Livelihoods are built from waste. Childhoods are spent upon it and no one in the world has been able to be more efficient at it than them. Today, no western company can boast, as the Zabbaleen can, of recycling 70% of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). In the end, the only notable dividend is a decent livelihood, although most have to pay for it by being consumed by rampant skin disease, kidney disease, and high infant mortality.         

View the exhibit. 

Photographs by Fredrik Gille     
Fredrik Gille

Photograph by Fredrik Gille. Ship breaking yard in Dhaka, Bangladesh where workers are dismantling boats and ships by hand. Almost all of Bangladesh's steel supply comes from the ship-breaking industry where workers recycle every part of the ships in miserable working conditions, often exposed to asbestos and other toxic materials without any protective clothing.


View the exhibit. 

Moldova: Exodus
Photographs by Dorin Goian 
Dorin Goian

Photograph by Dorin Goian. Moldova 2012.


Moldova is the poorest country in Europe since the day of declaration of its independence in 1991 when the population was 4.4 million. At the present, the country's population (including Transnistria) is estimated at 3.6 million inhabitants. Between 25% and 40% of Moldova's active population has left the country, announced the chief of the International Organization for Migration mission in Moldova at an international seminar. At the same time the head of the Migration Bureau noted it was the youth who emigrated most frequently. Between 2006 and 2010 about 20,000 Moldovan children were born abroad. There are two worrying demographic trends in Moldova - depopulation and aging population. The depopulation of Moldova is mostly generated by weak economy, corruption, incompetence, a very corrupt political class, and lack of national identity. All these factors make the active population go abroad in pursuit of better opportunities. 


View the exhibit. 

Albino Wanted
Photographs by Artur Gutowski  
Artur Gutowski

Photograph by Artur Gutowski. In the past two years, there has been a huge rise in murders of albino people.


White skin means death penalty for them. Albino Africans live in fear-as children are hacked to death for their body parts and lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers. In African countries such as Tanzania there has been an unprecedented rise in witchcraft-related killings of albino people in recent years, because their body parts are used in potions sold by witchdoctors.

the exhibit. 

SDN News
Grants and Fellowships Available to Documentary Photographers 

See link below for a list of 27 grants and fellowships available to documentary photographers. SDN welcomes additions and corrections to this list, and encourage our members to circulate the list through your social media. We also thank Caterina Clerici for compiling this list! View list >> 

New Orleans Photo Alliance Accepting Submissions for $5,000 Clarence John Laughlin Awards    

The Clarence John Laughlin Award  was instituted by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in 2010 to support the work of photographers who use the medium as a means of creative expression.  It honors the life and work of Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985), a New Orleans photographer best known for his surrealist images of the American South. The Clarence John Laughlin Award grants one $5,000 prize annually to a photographer whose work exhibits sustained artistic excellence and creative vision. Russell Lord, the Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art, will serve as this year's juror. Deadline for entries, July 20, 2013. 
Click here for more information >>

International Center for Photography Presents Books Signing for:
Photojournalists on War
The Untold Stories from Iraq
Michael Kamber
Foreward by Dexter Filkins   

Photojournalists on War

Friday, June 7, 2013
6:00 - 7:30 pm
International Center for Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street 
New York, NY
Event is free and open to the public.

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.