Spot Light

SPOTLIGHT/Number 136, May 2014
Featured work submitted to SDN in April 2014

Dear SDN Readers: 


I want to start off by thanking everyone who has submitted work to SDN's Call for Entries on Narrative Documentary. The jurors are now reviewing the work and the winners will be announced on May 26. This issue of Spotlight includes many submissions to the Call for Entries but due to the total number we received, we could only present a small fraction in this issue. Next month, we will feature more submissions from the Call for Entries and other work submitted in April.


This month SDN is launching two new services--licensing and print sales--to help photographers earn revenue from their work and to provide easier access to this work for SDN members who search for documentary photography for licensing. We are partnering with Photoshelter on these new services. Photoshelter is a leading web technology provider for photographers and will provide the backend image archive, search, and shopping cart technologies. Photographers participating in this initiative will have links on their SDN gallery and profile pages to their work on the licensing and print sales portal. They will also be listed on the public portal. If you are a photographer and are interested in finding out more about these initiatives, click here. If you are an image buyer and want to view images available for immediate licensing or purchase, click here.


We are very pleased this month to present Fran Antmann as the featured photographer for her work on Mayan Healers. I first was introduced to Fran's work at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo Photography Reviews in 2012 and was very excited to see her submit her work to SDN recently. Fran has been photographing the Mayan community in Guatemala and other indigenous communities in the Americas for many years. Her powerful and very sensitive photographs of Mayan Healers are an extraordinary testament to a  community struggling to survive amidst poverty and a legacy of genocide. See below for more information about Fran's work and a link to her gallery on SDN.


Glenn Ruga
Founder and Director  


May 2014 Featured Photographer of the Month       


Fran Antmann  
Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams       

Photo by Fran Antmann
Photograph by Fran Antmann. Lidia Gonzalez, Maya healer, on the shores of Lake Atitlán. 

Fran Antmann's photographs explore the power and mystery of ancient indigenous healing practices among the Maya people of Guatemala who live along the shores of Lake Atitlán. The photographs speak to the close relationship of these communities with the natural and spiritual worlds -- lives bound up with the lake and its winds and the surrounding volcanoes. Fran accompanied these healers to small windowless spaces where ancient rituals are practiced over dirt floors. She listened to the voices of those who are believed to have connections with the supernatural and derive their knowledge from dreams as they practice a craft that is outside the realm of western medicine.

View exhibit >>

Fran Antmann

Fran Antmann    

Fran Antmann is a documentary photographer, writer, and teacher. Her photographic work has focused on the lives and culture of the indigenous people of Guatemala and Peru as well as the Dene people of the Western Canadian Arctic and the Inuit of Baffin Island, Canada. For several years, she lived in the Peruvian Andes researching and recovering the work of the Peruvian photographer Sebastian Rodriguez and pursuing her own photographic project of the same mining town and people. Recently, she worked on a photographic project in Suriname about the descendants of one of the oldest Jewish communities in South America. Her forthcoming book Maya Healers: A Thousand Dreams, the culmination of six years of work, will be published in the fall of 2014 by Nirala Publications. She has received grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Ford Foundation, Agfa Corporation, the Social Science Research Council, the Puffin Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Foundation. She was awarded five New York State Foundation for the Arts fellowships in both photography and non-fiction literature.She teaches photography and photojournalism at Baruch College, CUNY and is also faculty photo editor of the Journalism Department's award winning online publication Dollars and Sense.


Other featured exhibits submitted to SDN in April 2014 


by Manuel Pompeia/United States

Located in southern New Jersey, Cumberland County surrounds the Delaware Bay with 65 miles of salt marshes. By late 19th century, Cumberland would ship over 80 rail cars a week, making oysters the largest fishery product in the country. Today, the county is the second poorest of the state, ...

Minarets and Onion Domes: The Tatars and Russians of Kazan>>
by Alison Shuman/Russian Federation

Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. The city's population is divided almost equally between the Muslim Tatars and the Orthodox Christian Russians. Like many cities across Russia, Kazan has been experiencing a religious resurgence since the collapse of the Soviet Union. What make...

Magical Hands>>
by Saud A Faisal/Bangladesh

Jamdani are among the finest textiles of Bengal produced in Dhaka District, Bangladesh. There are many hand looms still functional around Dhaka and these are completely manually operated. The workers create the finest design with their creative hand and these magical hands are carrying...

The Face of Water>>
by Rudi Dundas/Kenya

Drinking water is life's most basic need. Yet nearly a billion people on our planet do not have access to it. For the past five years Rudi Dundas has traveled to over 15 countries making portraits of people affected by lack of clean water, including the Samburu in N. Kenya, whose portraits here...

by Carlos Zaya/Tanzania

About one hour after arrival in Zanzibar in the back seat of a local taxi, tragedy strikes down from nowhere and takes us by shock. A boy tries to cross the road and gets hit by the taxi we're sitting in. Seconds after, disturbance and chaos takes place while I try desperately to get the boy ...

Whores and Madonnas>>
by Peter Schafer/Dominican Republic

"Whores and Madonnas" was shot primarily in Sosúa, a major sex tourism destination on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Denise Brennan's ethnography, What's Love Got to Do With It?, provided a guide to the motivations and disappointments connected with pursuing sex...

Common Ground>>
by Houston Cofield/United States

"Common Ground is an investigation into the land my grandfather and great-grandfather documented years ago at the heart of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County. By revisiting this region I set out to uncover the mystery and myth that surround the land. As I wander through the Lafayette...

I Am Rachel>>
by Gemma Taylor/Namibia

As a transgender woman Rachel knows only too well what it means to experience stigma. Her family disowned her when she was just 12, and in order to survive she lived off a rubbish dump and sold sex for food and money. Despite her experiences Rachel is a strong woman who is proud of her identity: ...

Don Sergio's Chiapas>>
by Janet Jarman/Mexico

Shamans, who heal with prayers and medicinal plants, are often a first stop for people seeking medical care in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Indigenous Maya fear that doctors and nurses in the region's overcrowded government hospitals will not understand them or respect their customs. Many...

Under the Waterline>>
by Savvas Kois/Greece

This project is about men working on repairing the underwater parts  of ships. Although they try to take health protection measures, they know very well that this job it not good for them to do for many years...

Prosperity Gospel>>
by Charter Weeks/United States

Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession documents, in photography and text, the impact of the recession on individual lives within a 75 mile radius of Asheville, North Carolina. We have interviewed and photographed nearly 100 people...

Alone, Together>>
by B. D. Colen/United States

Thomas Wolfe, the 20th century writer who warned us that we can't "go home again," wrote at one point in his sadly short existence that "the whole conviction of (his) life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and ...

CONDOM NATION - Life in Swaziland in the Era of HIV>>
by Mike Kear/Swaziland

"Condom Nation" reads the slogan used on the t-shirts of pier educators at the Matata Road Show, a day of music, celebration and education. HIV transmission has so many complexities and the message of condom use does not provide a complete solution...

Birth is a Dream: Maternity in Africa>>
by Paolo Patruno/Uganda, Malawi, DRC

Every year in Sub-Saharan Africa, 200,000 mothers die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, 1.5 million African children are left without a mother. A mother's death is a human tragedy, affecting families and communities. Her death endangers the lives of a surviving newborn and ...

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Each month, SDN selects a featured photographer to highlight in Spotlight.

Advisory Committee
Kristen Bernard
Lori Grinker
Steve Horn
Ed Kashi
John Sevigny
Jeffrey D. Smith
Steve Walker
Frank Ward
Jamie Wellford

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Founder & Director

Barbara Ayotte
Communications Director

Caterina Clerici
Special Issue Editor
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SDN News

The Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Grant
Deadline for Submissions: June 7, 2014


In order to to assist photojournalists struggling with the economic hardships associated with this profession, the Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Association is promoting a 8,000 Euro grant endowed by Canon France. The award is presented to a professional photographer of any age, sex or nationality who wishes to cover a social, economic, political or cultural issue in a journalistic manner, on presentation of a dossier. The Award is given in order to allow the winner to produce a story that has never been told but that the photographer cannot find support for within the media.  


More information >>

2014 Photo Review Photography Competition
Deadline for Submissions: June 30, 2014


Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator of Photography at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, will be the juror for the 2014 Photo Review Photography Competition. The Photo Review, a highly acclaimed critical journal of photography, is sponsoring its 30th annual photography competition with a difference. Instead of only installing an exhibit that would be seen by a limited number of people, The Photo Review will reproduce accepted entries in its 2014 competition issue and on its website. Thus, the accepted photographs will be seen by thousands of people all across the world and entrants will have a tangible benefit from the competition.     


More information >>

Alexia Foundation Announces 2014 Women's Intitiative Grant   

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce the call for entries for our 2014 Women's Initiative Grant which will provide a $25,000 grant for a project to be produced on a significant issue involving and affecting women. This call for entries is intended to permit the photographer to propose a serious documentary photographic or multimedia project encompassing any issue involving women anywhere in the world.

Deadline for submissions, June 30, 2014. 

Current Crowd Funding Campaigns


By Reza   

Reza Peace Warrior  

Celebrated photojournalist Reza is working to produce his very first interactive book, combining photographs, videos and animations in order to provide a unique insight into the world of the people who have dedicated their lives to fighting for peace and freedom in Afghanistan.

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.