spotlight banner June 2015
Dear SDN Readers:

It has been a busy few months here at SDN. In April, we launched the first issue of ZEKE magazine followed by two launch parties in New York and Boston. Then two weeks ago we had a reception at the Bronx Documentary Center for an exhibition of the winners of SDN's last call for entries. And earlier this week we signed a partnership agreement with ViewFind, an innovative new entry into the field of digital visual-based journalism. We hope that the photographers out there will read more about this partnership and how you can become involved.


Events across the globe never stop presenting new challenges, opportunities, and too often, obstacles, to seven billion people trying to find our place on the planet. This is the landscape where documentary photographers focus their attention, many bringing these stories to SDN. This past month has seen the heart wrenching stories of migration across the Mediterranean Sea as thousands flee deteriorating conditions across Africa and Asia. Nearly 2,000 have died while making perilous journey led by unscrupulous human traffickers. There has also been the exodus of thousands of Rohingya, a stateless minority in Bangladesh and Myanmar, seeking refuge in other nations in southeast Asia. Photographers on SDN have been covering the background of these stories for years and posting many insightful and powerfully photographed exhibits. See SDN's stories on both the Rohingya and on migration across the Mediterranean


We are very excited about this month's featured photographer, Stephen Speranza, and his project "Wilmerding," about an aging industrial town in Pennsylvania that is former home of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Stephen, a photojournalist based in New York, has family roots in Wilmerding and he has gone back on many occasions to document the town and its people and their struggle to redefine their futures in this changing economic landscape.


Glenn Ruga


SDN Founder and Director
Stephen Speranza
  Photo by Stephen Speranza from Wilmerding
Daymar on Patton Street, 2013.

Stephen Speranza/June 2015 Featured Photographer of the Month
An ongoing photo project documenting the post-industrial town of Wilmerding, PA

Established in 1890 by industrialist George Westinghouse, the suburban enclave of Wilmerding is a planned company town originally intended to house the workforce and families of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Today, Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake building appear lifeless in contrast to the vibrant and culturally rich Pittsburgh suburb that it used to be.

"When photographing, I try to remember the commonality that Wilmerding shares with other industrial towns in Western Pennsylvania and across the country," states Speranza.  "I'm interested in examining the relationship between past and present, and how history along with economic and cultural changes have shaped and influenced the current realities in this once-strong but now marginalized community. A familiar story echoed throughout the American Rust Belt, Wilmerding becomes a microcosm of many larger contemporary American conversations." 

View Exhibit >>

June 2015 Spotlight

Heidi Augustad
by Heidi L. Augestad/South Africa

Behind the amazing facade of Cape Town, you find severe social issues related to the housing of nearly two million people. Almost half of the population in Cape Town live in informal settlements or camps in houses build of cardboard, thin aluminum plates and plastic. People suffer from ...

Khaled Hasan
by Khaled Hasan/Nepal

Approximately 8,000 people have been killed and more than twice as many injured during the 7.9 Richter scale earthquake in Nepal, which occurred at 11:56 NST on 25th April, 2015. It was the most powerful disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake. Around 500,000...

John Gallo
by John Gallo/United Kingdom

This essay portrays Keymer's last days, one of the oldest and most established industries in England, with clients such as the Queen, members of the Rolling Stones and of the Beatles. Keymer is another secular industry disappearing due to the current consumer trends, based solely and exclusively...

by Suvra Kanti Das/Nepal

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April 2015. Many buildings in the older parts of Kathmandu are now rubble, including the Dharahara Tower, a 19th century 62-metre tall building, and many temples were destroyed or severely damaged in Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site...

by Amanda Conde/Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a high prevalence of blindness, one of the highest in the world. 50% of blindness is caused by curable cataracts that develop because of poor nutrition, unfiltered UV rays, and trauma to the eye. Rural villagers who are afflicted with blindness often are sequestered to their huts, ...

by Terry Cooper/Uganda, Zambia, & Senegal

The objective of this project is to use the power of photography to help raise global awareness of avoidable blindness and it's impact on individual's lives.  285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. The focus of the project is in developing countries where 90% of ...

by Motty Levy/Cuba

My current project "I am Cuba" looks at lifestyle differences caused by the "changing of the guards" in Cuba, in the last few years. Cuba is in the process of gradual change, and I wanted to find out if those changes are reflected on the daily life of...

by Heidi L. Augestad/South Africa

30,000 people joined the march against xenophobia in Johannesburg Center on April 23, 2015. After two weeks of terrible attacks, lootings as well as the murder of seven people in Durban and Johannesburg townships, the Joburg community marked their protests. Along the route, thousands of people...

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

Glenn Ruga
Founder & Director

Barbara Ayotte
Communications Director

Paula Sokolska
ZEKE Writer & Editor 

Caterina Clerici

Special Issue Editor  

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SDN News
viewfindSDN Signs Partnership Agreement with ViewFind

ViewFind logo SDN is excited to announce that earlier this week a partnership agreement was signed with ViewFind, a startup based in San Francisco, CA that was created in response to the rapid demise of traditional media and with it, the foundation for photojournalism. ViewFind seek to turn traditional media on its head, by providing image-first-and-word-second visual news stories for a young generation increasingly on the go and on their mobile devices. For the photojournalist, ViewFind offers hosting of visual stories, an online following, and advertising revenue share. ViewFind will be reaching out to SDN photographers to join in this venture. For more information, see If you have questions about SDN's partnership with ViewFind, please feel free to contact us at

Order ZEKE Magazine in Print or Digital

ZEKE Cover
ZEKE magazine is now available in both print and digital formats and features work of leading SDN photographers. The first issue features water scarcity, the Bangladesh garment industry, and Rio de Janeiro as it prepares for the 2016 summer Olympics with photographs by Dario De Dominicis, Suvra Kanti Das, Tiana Markova-Gold, Rudi Dundas, and others. More information & to order >>  

SDN Exhibit at Bronx Documentary Center Great Success!
Bronx Doc Center
Photographers Aake Ericson and Glenna Gordon, and SDN's Glenn Ruga (center),
at exhibition reception.
More than 75 people came out for the reception for SDN's exhibit on Visual Stories Exploring Global Themes at the Bronx Documentary Center on May 30.

submitSubmit Your Work to SDN
Find out how to have your work featured on the SDN website, included in ZEKE, Spotlight, and eligible for Featured Photographer of the Month.
Find out how >>

About Social Documentary Network 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.