Spot Light

SPOTLIGHT/Number 138, July 2014
Featured work submitted to SDN in June 2014

Dear SDN Readers: 


June has been a slow month for exhibits posted to SDN. But it has been a very busy month behind the scenes as we just got a Kickstarter campaign off the ground. (More on that in a minute.) After much careful deliberation, rather than awarding one featured photographer this month, we are instead highlighting three exhibits that deserve special merit.

  • Paradi$e Lu$t by Liza Van der Stock on a non-judgemental view of the pornography industry in Belgium.
  • Hospital Clowns by Olga Boltneva on the heroic work done by clowns to help children in hospitals in Russia.
  • Hound Heights by Ralph Quinonez on a no-kill dog shelter in Guatemala.

In a way, these three exhibits represent the best of SDN. Each is set in a different country and presents very diverse themes. But each photographer is committed to using the documentary form respectfully, insightfully, and passionately to tell important stories about the human condition. Each exhibit has its own merits, but I was particularly interested in Hound Heights by Ralph Quinonez for exploring our animal friends. Over the past few years, I have been noticing a groundswell of realization that animals, and particularly our pets, deserve greater respect and recognition in our public discourse. I expect to see more about this in the coming years both on SDN and in the larger public dialogue.


Last Wednesday, SDN launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to redesign the website. I hope you can support this campaign with a generous donation, or just as important, help promote the campaign through your own social media channels. It has been seven years since SDN was originally designed. We have learned a lot, but more important, the web has changed substantially since then. SDN needs to change as well to keep our site current with today's standards of design and technology. Click here to enter the Kickstarter website and learn more about the campaign.


Thank you! 


Glenn Ruga
Founder and Director  


July 2014 Spotlight


Liz Van der Stock
Paradi$e Lu$t>>
by Liza Van der Stock/Belgium

'Porn' is often associated with lovelessness and debauchery or artificiality and kitsch. However, during the making of this photo documentary, I came into contact with people with a warm family and a tight relationship who get a lot of satisfaction from their work. Additionally, their films ...

Olga Boltneva
Hospital Clowns>>
by Olga Boltneva/Russian Federation

About 5-7 million children are admitted into hospitals each year in Russia. The majority of seriously sick children can spend many years. For any child, staying in a hospital is a great stress. In this situation Hospital Clowns come to help. This project is a presentation of an unusual profession of being a Hospital Clown. ...  

Ralph Quinonez
Hound Heights>>
by Ralph Quinonez/Guatemala

Animal AWARE is the largest no-kill shelter in Central America. Nestled in the Guatemalan highlands, the shelter normally houses upwards of 300 dogs. The vision of AWARE (also known as "Hound Heights") is to improve the lives of domestic animals in Guatemala through humane education and ...

Greece Public TV Occupation>>
by Andonis Kappas/Greece

ERT is the Greek acronym for National Radio and Television. The Greek government decided to shut down the signal and now 2650 employees will be left jobless. This is the first night of occupation that "almost changed our lives". The government of Greece ordered the shutdown of ERT in a cost-cutting reform. 

Critical Care>>
by Arifur Rahman/Bangladesh

Working with critical patients is stressful. This photo series consist of some moments from daily life of a critical care doctor Dr. Md. Wahidur Rahman. Dr. Wahidur is an anesthesiologist working in BSMMU (former PG Hospital Dhaka, Bangladesh),at night he also works in the ICU...

Roth Yatra>>
by Arifur Rahman/Bangladesh

Rath Yatra festival, one of the biggest Hindu festivals, is held once every year in the rainy season in June-July. Lord Jagannath, with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, goes on vacation, traveling on grand chariots, from his temple to his garden palace in the countryside...

Manila's Teen Prisoners>>
by Sandra Hoyn/Philippines

According to the child protection organization Preda, as many as 20,000 youngsters are imprisoned in overcrowded cells in the Philippines. The prisons have poor sanitary conditions and many minors share cells with adults, increasing the risk of them being the victim of violence and sexual assault.

The Grand Historic Bazaar of Isfahan>>
by zohreh haghshenas/Iran

The grand historic bazaar of Isfahan is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

by Glenn Ruga/United States

This body of work stems from a project I began 25 years ago when I was taking black and white portraits of friends and neighbors with a medium format film camera. What I always felt lacking back then, which lead me to this project, is the conversations that would go on while I was photographing, ...

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

Glenn Ruga
Founder & Director

Barbara Ayotte
Communications Director

Caterina Clerici
Special Issue Editor
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SDN News

SDN's future depends on your support for this Kickstarter campaign

Reza On Wednesday, SDN launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to redesign the website from the ground up. We have 30 days to raise $15,000. If we don't raise all the funds in 30 days, we don't receive any of it.
View this video to hear Ed Kashi, Reza, Lori Grinker, Kristen Bernard, and Glenn Ruga talk about the redesign, the future of SDN, and why your support is so important.


View Kickstarter Campaign >>

License or Purchase Photographs from SDN Photographers

SDN Licensing & Print Sales Photography buyers can now view and search for work available for licensing from the SDN Licensing and Print Sales website or you can find a link on any gallery or photographer profile page where the photographer is part of this new service.
You can also purchase fine art prints directly through this same platform. Prints are made by Digital Silver Imaging based in Massachusetts and shipped to anywhere in the world. Framing is also available. 

View SDN Licensing and Print Sales Website >>

New Orleans Photo Alliance Accepting Submissions for $5000 Clarence John Laughlin Award  

The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) is pleased to announce its call for submissions for the 5th annual $5000 award to recognize and reward a fine art photographer who is creating or has completed a significant body of photographic work. The award is open to emerging and established photographers who reside in the U.S.  The online application process requires a portfolio of 10-20 photographs, a written statement, a bio or CV, and a $25 application fee. 
For more information >> 

Update on SDN/MSH Photo Fellows  


Warren Zelman, a 2013 SDN/MSH Photo Fellow,was recognized this year with awards from PX3 20014 in three categories, Advertising, Documentary, and Annual reports, and was published in the Communications Arts 2014 Photography Annual.


Rui Pires, also 2013 SDN/MSH Photo Fellow, received a Documentary 2013 Award from UNESCO/CPA for his series Rural Moments.


Mark Tuschman, a 2014 SDN/MSH Photo Fellow, is hard at work with a Kickstarter Campaign to raise $50,000 to fund the publication of Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge. SDN exhibited this work at powerHouse Arena in February.  


Gwenn Dubourthoumieu recently published his award winning essay, The Copper Eaters, in the French magazine XXI and is currently working in France for Géo.


Todd Shapera was one of five staff photographers for the U.S. team of 1,100 athletes and coaches to compete in the Maccabi Games in Israel last summer and recently completed two multi-media pieces on New York dance companies for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund foundation. 


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.