August 2015 Spotlight Banner
Dear SDN Readers:

Why can't I look anywhere these days and not see a new exhibit or a new book about street photography. SDN photographer B.D. Colen's Alone, Together documentary taken exclusively
B.D. Colen
From Alone, Together by
B.D. Colen
underground in the Boston metro was recently featured on WGBH Radio, a Boston-area station. At least three of the exhibits out of seven in this month's Spotlight (West London Tales, Boston Street Portraits, and July 4th 2015) can be considered street photography. A genre exemplified by the late Garry Winogrand, street photography is the still photography equivalent to cinéma vérité, allowing the camera to reveal an underlying truth, but in this case on public thoroughfares. Rather than looking for challenging themes of the human condition to document, street photographers often just turn their cameras at the urban streets with nothing extraordinary other than the complete spectacle of humanity splayed out for all to see. Documentary has many sub-genre's and street photography is one that challenges us because the best work has no text and relies just on the confounding truth of the image.

Maryam Ashrafi
From Mourning Kobané by Maryam
This month's featured photographer is not a street photographer. This is the second time that SDN has given this award to Maryam Ashrafi, an Iranian born photographer now living in Paris. Maryam has made repeated trips to Kurdistan in Iraq and Syria to document Kurdish women fighters. In her most recent trip, she had to sneak across the border from Turkey to document Syrian Kurds returning to Kobané after liberating their city from the Islamic State. This work has taken on a greater significance this past week because of fighting between Turkey and the Kurdish militant group, the PKK. Meanwhile the Kurds are the most effective ground forces fighting the Islamic State and the recipient of US military aid.

In Ashrafi's words, "the story of Kobané is not only about the war and its consequences but also the story of the power of humanity, courage, and solidarity."

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder and Director

August 2015 Spotlight Banner

Photo by Maryam Ashrafi from Mourning Kobané. At a cemetery in Kobané, Syria, on April 14, 2015, members of YPJ (Women's Protection Units), mourn during the ceremony for Ageri, their fellow fighter who was killed during clashes with the Islamic State in the front line of Kobané, Syria.
Maryam Ashrafi/August 2015 Featured Photographer of the Month
Mourning Kobané (Syria)    

A few months after the liberation of Kobané, Syria, many families have started to come back to what is left of their houses destroyed by the Islamic State. With the hope of rebuilding their life and their city, they clean their homes of bodies and bury the fighters who lost their life in the war which is still going on in three front lines near the city.

Following Maryam Ashrafi's ongoing project on Kurdish Women Fighters, she realized their battle is not only against their enemy common with the fellow male fighters (the Islamic State) but also to prove their role as women in a male dominated society--a difficult yet promising battle. The more she spent time with the women of different age groups and backgrounds, the more she realized the significance of this project.

View Exhibit >>

Maryam Ashrafi Maryam Ashrafi is an Iranian-born photojournalist, living in Paris.
She received her BA in social documentary photography from the University of Wales Newport. Since graduating, she has focused on photographing global social and political issues, particularly concerning women. Her projects on Kurdish fighters and Syrian refugees has taken her to Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) where she is planning to return and complete her work. Photo © Mustafa Alali

August 2015 Spotlight

Featured exhibits submitted to SDN in July 2015.

by REZA/Iraqi Kurdistan

This is the story of refugees, told by those who live it, the refugees themselves. For more than two decades, I have worked to empower people in vulnerable situations by training them to tell their own stories. These are the remarkable images by the children of Kawergosk Refugee Camp who were  trained ...

John Gallo
by John Gallo/United Kingdom

West London currently ranks as the most expensive location in the world in which to rent office space, beating out Tokyo in December 2013. Buskers and street performers are widespread -- all of whom put together an act to impress the crowd and gather a few coins...

Daniel Clapp
by Daniel Clapp/United States

This is a selection of portrait photographs I collected from the streets of Boston during the winter months of 2015. Maverick Square, Haymarket, Downtown Crossing, and Boston Common are represented.

by Vicente Pamparo/Haiti

The Haiti Carnival is an eclectic show of the disturbing and yet haunting beauty celebrating Mardi Gras.

by Paul McGuirk/United States

We traveled from western Connecticut north, up the back roads to Lincoln, NH in the heart of the White Mountains to celebrate 4th of July at a family gathering.This was the weekend to put the red, white and blue lipstick on things. The 4th fell on a Saturday. The sky went from grey ...

by Linda Ainouche/Jamaica, India

Dreadlocks Story shows the Rasta movement in a new light. It shows the cultural history behind the criticized dreadlocks hairstyle and the roots of the Rastafari culture, which is entangled with the Hindu tradition in Jamaica. There are many misconceptions and judgments about the Rasta way of life...

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  

Follow Us
Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInView our photos on flickr

SDN News

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 and to order >>

srebrenicaEight-Week Documentary Master Class with Glenn Ruga begins September 15  
 Designed for photographers who are working on, or are interested in working on, a body of documentary work culminating in a portfolio or a multimedia presentation. The focus of this Master Class will be shooting and in-class critique. The class will be held in Belmont, Massachusetts.
More information and to register>>

GalaAwardsCall for Entries
Galla Awards
The Gala Awards is now accepting submissions to the 8th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, and the 8th Edition of the Pollux Awards. Deadline September 15. More information >>

Submit 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.