Spot Light

SPOTLIGHT/Number 137, June 2014
Featured work submitted to SDN in May 2014

Dear SDN Readers: 


The judges have voted and the winners of SDN's Call for Entry on Narrative Documentary. First Place Winner is Paolo Patruno from Italy for his exhibit on maternal health in Africa. Honorable mentions are Gabriela Bulisova from the U.S. for her exhibit on re-entry after incarceration, Susi Eggenberger from the U.S. for her exhibit on a young Iraqi girl severely wounded by American soldiers, and Florian Müller from Germany for his exhibit on the garment industry in India. Click here to view the winners' projects.


This month's featured photographer is Tahir Ün from Turkey for his project The Shift in the Coal Mine. What is so interesting, and tragic, about these photographs is that this is not just any coal mine. Tahir took these photographs in January 2014 at the coal mine in Soma, Turkey four months before a fire in the mine killed 301 workers resulting in Turkey's worst mining disaster and devastating the families of the Soma region. Turkey has one of the highest rates of deaths among coal miners in the world based on per ton of coal extracted. Prior to the January disaster, there were numerous calls for investigations of mining conditions in Soma that went unheeded by the Turkish government. Of the 787 workers in the mine shaft at the time, 486 survived. Tahir's photographs were taken at an adjacent shaft only 1/4 mile away. Many of the miners appearing in Tahir's photographs had brothers, fathers, sons, and neighbors lost in the adjacent mine.


Glenn Ruga
Founder and Director  


June 2014 Featured Photographer of the Month       


Tahir Ün  
The Shift in the Coal Mine 
Soma, Turkey       

Tahir Ün
Photograph by Tahir Ün. Waiting for a new shift. 

Every year many industrial accidents occur in Turkey and nearly 1200 workers died last year. A portion of these deaths are in the coal mines. This project by Tahir Ün is about coal mine workers who have major risks of deadly accidents. In May 2014, the nation's worst mining accident occurred in Soma, Turkey. The government confirmed the death of 301 workers. The photographs in this exhibit were taken in January in the Soma mine, five months before the accident.

View exhibit >>

Tahir Un

Tahir Ün     

Tahir Ün was born in Turkey in 1960. He holds a BA degree from Language and History-Geography Faculty of Ankara University, where he studied History of European Arts.He was one of the founders of the Institution of the Art of Photography (FSK) in 1994. His photographs have been published in many magazines such as "Foto" Magazine, Madrid, Spain; "Zoom International" Magazine, Italy; and "Foto Kino Magazine tillaeg International Photography", Denmark. His work is in the collections of Polaroid Collection, Ransom Center of Photography, State Museum of Majdenek, Rhizome Artbase, and others. Tahir Ün published three books titled "Imagined Views/Moments of Revulsion,"  "The Poetic Introduction of Representation of the Hidden Photograph,"  and "Xinjiang : My Ancestral Land". Also, his articles about image theory are published in Turkish art magazines since 2000. His works have been displayed in numerous events including 24 one-man exhibitions. Tahir Ün is currently active in new media arts and an instructor in the Communication Faculty of Yasar University at Izmir. 


Other featured exhibits submitted to SDN in May 2014

Passion Days - Soccer>>
by Cesar Suarez/Ethiopia

The world is getting ready for soccer fever in a few weeks. Beginning on June 12, Brazil and Croatia will play the first match of the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paolo, and from this day during one month, the world will spin around a soccer ball no matter race, color, religion or social status...

Horses of the Streets>>
by Saud A Faisal/Bangladesh

Horses are the main means of transportation for centuries for humankind. The modern world has already replaced horses with their own inventions. But still we see these animals being used in commercial transportation in many parts of the world...

From Kathmandu with Love>>
by Rui Pires/Nepal

Nepal Orphans Home (NOH) began in March of 2005 when a friend took Michael Hess to an 'orphanage' in Dhapasi in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley that she said needed help. There, Michael found a small, rundown house with over two dozen destitute children. Malnourished, in poor health, and...

The Ijen Miners>>
by Pietro Sferrino/Indonesia

The "Kawah Ijen" is a stratovolcano in East Java. In its crater there is a lake and the crater itself is used as an open-pit mine. Every day (or rather, every night, well before sunrise) dozens of miners climb to the top of the Ijen, descend into the crater, collect 60, 70, sometimes even...

Ailing Dreams>>
by Habiba Nowrose/Bangladesh

Ailing Dreams: "I am happy here" 12 year old Lin Pa Pa O said. It was heart wrenching for me to look at Lin Pa Pa O and convince myself that she has HIV. She, along with her friends, fidgets all day long inside the hospital...

Twilight Chasing Dreams>>
by Nadia Islam/Bangladesh

From the very beginning of our social life in Bangladesh, we find the formation of different classes. We find upper class people, middle class people and lower class as well. As they are classified as a certain category, so from the very early age...

Bull Jumping>>
by Cesar Suarez/Ethiopia

The Hamer tribe (sometimes called Hammer People or Hamar tribe) live in the Hamer Bena Woreda District of the Omo River Valley in southwestern Ethiopia. The Hamer people are famous for their "bull jumping ceremony" in which young men are required to jump over a line of bulls...

The Boat Crew>>
by Oscar Segovia Rangel/Mexico

In Mexico, looking for work is a very hard activity consisting of effort and dedication. Unemployment in Mexico seems to be a problem that has been affecting the country in recent years, however, the situation is stable compared to other economies. Today it is difficult to find a job with a good salary...

Steel City Solidarity>>
by Andy Prisbylla/United States

Steel City Solidarity is the first installment of the multipart documentary series Citizens of Industry, which explores labor culture in many of its aspects. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has one of the richest labor histories in this country, and is the perfect place to examine the subjects of worker...

by T Conant/United States

Sites is a series of photographs that document locations in and around Western Massachusetts where a violent crime against a woman (and sometimes other family members) has taken place.

Telegu' is Horizon or `Dalito' in Bangladesh>>
by Mohammad Asad/Bangladesh

'Telegu' is a very small community of Dhaka city. From heredity they are sweepers. Telegu is a very different community in our society... 

The Art Of (War) Tourism>>
by Don Unrau/Viet Nam

The Art Of (War) Tourism, is a continuation of my interest in post-war Viet Nam. Every year, the two main war museums in Ho Chi Minh City host more than a half million visitors. They are equally divided between resident Vietnamese and foreign tourists from SE Asia, N. America, Europe and Russia...

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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.