SDN Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT/Number 130, December 2013  

Dear SDN Readers: 


We are very excited to have recently announced the winners of the Call for Entries on Global Awareness. Gwenn Dubourthoumieu and Mark Tuschman won the MSH Photography Fellowship Grand Prize, Fausto Podavini won the SDN Documentary Prize, and Suvra Das and Carol Allen Storey won Honorable Mention. Click here for more information. The exhibition of their work will be at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY February 27-March 23. I hope you can join us at the opening reception on February 27!


This month's featured photographer is Saud A. Faisal from Bangladesh for his exhibit "Old Streets, Old Stories" focusing on the age-old occupations and traditions of residents of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Saud's work is consistent with the tradition of powerful black and white work that we have seen coming out of Bangladesh for many years. Khaled Hassan was one of the winners of our first call for entries in 2009, and since then we have recognized many other photographers from Bangladesh for their extraordinary documentary work.


Last week the world was shocked to learn of the passing of one of the 20th century's greatest peacemakers, Nelson Mandela, who made a profound impact on the transition to democracy in his native South Africa and has been an inspiration to all people struggling for freedom and dignity.  To honor his life and work, SDN presents these five exhibits on South Africa. 


As the end of the year approaches, I hope you will consider making a contribution to SDN. We are an all-volunteer organization, and support from the documentary community is essential to allow us to continue with the online and offline exhibitions, email Spotlights, and the global network and community that we create around documentary photography. Click here to make a contribution today.


Wishing you a very happy holiday and new year! 


Glenn Ruga
Founder and Director 

December 2013 Featured Photographer of the Month       


Saud A. Faisal  
Old Streets, Old Stories

Saud A. Faisal
Photograph by Saud A. Faisal. The horse is taken to the river for bath.  

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and the main city of the country, has a rich political and social heritage of over 400 years. This mega-city has an old part that is the witness of the change of time but the basic story of the people remains the same. Regardless of the time span of history, the stories of the struggles, happiness, and religious beliefs remain the same. The old streets still carry the same stories of life. The story of the lock seller, the chicken seller, monkey man, the boatman, and the horse rider all remain the same because time can make a street old but cannot change the stories of life.

Saud Faisal Saud A. Faisal started to develop his passion for photography at an early student age and completed his Diploma in Black & White Photography from Alliance Franšaise de Dhaka in 1996. During his long active endeavors in photography, Faisal has received recognitions from various national and international arenas. He organized, participated and also served in different capacities in a wide range of exhibitions and workshops. His works was exhibited and published in many countries worldwide. Faisal also prefers to be introduced as a photo activist as he works for the photographers by pioneering many notable photographic platforms in Bangladesh. 


December 2013 Featured Exhibits

Sorrow in the Land of Smiles: Burmese Refugees in Thailand>>
by Alison Wright/Thailand

It is estimated that over two million Burmese refugees live in Thailand, with a high percentage living on the popular island of Phuket. Behind the expensive hotels and beaches packed with tourists hides a large community of Burmese migrants trying to carve out a living in...

Gypsy Interiors (Contemporary Roma Portraits)>>
by Carlo Gianferro/Romania, Republic of Moldova

"Gypsy Interiors" is a collection of portraits capturing the sedate and decorous intimacy of an outwardly loud and gregarious people. Carlo Gianferro has discovered a profound - almost religious - ethnic performance enacted by proud and wealthy Roma deep within their own private ...

In Deep Water>>
by Michael F. McElroy/India

Comprising over 70% of the earth's surface, water is undoubtedly the most precious natural resource that exists on our planet. Without the seemingly invaluable compound comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, life on Earth would be non-existent: it is essential for everything on our planet to grow and...

Nomadic Education in Northeastern Kenya>>
by Jennifer Huxta/Kenya

In the semi-arid zone of Garissa County, Northeastern Kenya, Somali-Kenyan pastoralist nomads are constantly on the move, following the rains, and seeking pasture for their livestock. Therefore, school enrollment is low across the board, and especially low for girls. One solution is the mobile...

Portraits of Masai's heart>>
by Miguel Candela/Kenya

The Masai have a unique way of life, beliefs and sets of customs that developed for centuries. A culture that survived and evolved with minor external influences. Archeologists believe that what makes up humanity nowadays started in the regions where Kenya, Tanzania and, in particular, where the Masais ...

Shades of Grey - A portrait series about Intersexuality>>
by Sophie Kirchner/Germany

Nowadays in our western society there are only a few taboo issues left. But it was not always like that in the past. Standardization was a continuous principle of disciplinary action and social forming. Our society has become much more tolerant concerning tough issues. Certainly, intersexuality is ...

A Church for the Roma>>
by Caterina Clerici/Romania

 On August 23, 2013, the self-proclaimed "International King of the Roma" Florin Cioaba was laid to rest in the municipal cemetery of the Transylvanian town of Sibiu, in Romania. On the very same day, his two sons Dorin and Daniel were crowned, respectively, "International...

Butterflies Chapter 2>>
by Scott Typaldos/Kosovo

Butterflies Chapter 2: Before the Kosovo war 1998-1999, the Stime psychiatric institute was financed by the Serbian government and inhabited by patients from Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. After the power change, the new Albanian government financially abandoned the premises leaving the infrastructure...

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Kristen Bernard
Lori Grinker
Steve Horn
Ed Kashi
John Sevigny
Frank Ward

Glenn Ruga
Founder & Director

Barbara Ayotte
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Caterina Clerici
Special Issue Editor
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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.