Oct 2015 Spotlight Banner
Dear SDN Readers:

What does visual storytelling bring to this complex and ever-changing world? Last month the world was focused on the migration crisis in Europe and the photography community responded with images that changed world opinion. This month we boomeranged to the massacre at a small community college in Oregon, followed by US bombing an MSF clinic in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Then Russia brazenly shipped military hardware and personnel to Syria under the guise of fighting ISIS, only to find out that Putin was attacking the same forces that the U.S. is professed to support. This week, Turkey suffered its highest civilian death toll ever from a terrorist attack. And, in between it all, Pope Francis visited the UN General Assembly and the U.S. Congress to support action against climate change, the death penalty, and concentration of wealth. Photojournalists are providing us critical visual information during or immediately after these events, and in many cases documentary photographers follow up with personally inspired long-term projects to give us greater nuances into the politics, culture, geography and the individuals whose lives have been forever changed by these events.

Photographers are silent witnesses to the epical, magical, and mundane. The lyrics to The Fool on the Hill by the Beatles state  "the eyes in his head/sees the world spinning around". The photographer's weapon is a camera to craft an image and to make meaning out of this chaos. We try, and when we do our best, we succeed.

This month SDN released its second edition of ZEKE Magazine featuring stories on Syria, Migration, and Gender, an interview with Marcus Bleasdale, and other content relevant to visual storytelling and global awareness. We have also completely redesigned the digital version and are now offering it for free. The print version is available to order from our website for $8.00 plus shipping.

Allow me to congratulate this month's featured photographer, Adriaan Devillé, for his magnificent work on a wedding in Tajikistan among Slogdian speaking people following customs that were nearly wiped out during Soviet times. Congratulations to Adriaan for bringing us this terrific visual story.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder and Director

Adriaan Devillé

Photo by Adriaan Devillé from A Slogdian Wedding.
Adriaan Devillé/October 2015 Featured Photographer of the Month
A Slogdian Wedding, Tajikistan      

The Yagnob valley in Tajikistan is a rarely visited area in the Zarafshan mountain range. Once in the valley, villages - sometimes no more than two families - are settled on both sides of the steep abyss. The inhabitants speak, beside the Tajik language, the almost extinct Sogdian, the original language spoken in this area decades ago. When a young couple gets married, the festive ceremony starts in the village of the groom. Afterwards the groom, has to go to the town of the bride to 'pick-up' his future wife. For her, the wedding day is the day she leaves her family  to start a new life with her in-laws. 

View Exhibit >>

Adriaan Devillé is a photographer based in Belgium with a passion for urban and travel photography. He began his interest in photography in 2009 when he shot his first picture with a borrowed digital reflex camera and his interest developed further through his extensive travels in remote parts of the world. While he is on the road, he captures with his camera the unbelievable beauty and the great cultural diversity of the global community. Photography has changed his view of the world and has taught him to really see in a different way. 

October 2015 Spotlight

Featured exhibits submitted to SDN in September 2015 


yusuke suzuki
Journey to a new life.>>
by Yusuke Suzuki/Greece

Refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These people escaped war in their own country and are dreaming a new life in Europe. They pay $1,200-$2,000 to smugglers to risk their life to cross the ocean between Turkey and Greece. When they arrive at a shore of Lesbos in Greece...

Carole Alfarah
Desires of Catalonia>>
by Carole Alfarah/Spain

Catalonia is one of Spain's richest and most highly industrialised regions, where people are proud of their own identity and language. With a distinct history stretching back to the early middle ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain...

Albertina d'Urso
Favelas, the rhythm of change>>
by Albertina d'Urso/Brazil

The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are mostly known for violence and drug trafficking. But, also if those problems still exist, life for most of the inhabitants has nothing to do with that. Favelas are becoming safer and better organized. The majority of them have running water and electricity and offer ...

Enrico Doria
White Shelter>>
by Enrico Doria/South Africa

This photographic work tells about a not well-known aspect of the current period (and in the post-apartheid) in South Africa, where even the white people are victims of several incidents of discrimination, in particular following the government program "Black Economic Empowerment" (BEE), ...

No life, the refugee slums in Hong Kong>>
by Emmanuel Serna/Hong Kong

The plight of the refugees in Hong Kong, is the consequence of a system that isolates and leaves them in endless waiting, out of sight of the rest of the population in unsanitary slums. About 10,000 refugees live in of Hong Kong, mostly coming from Indian subcontinent, but also from Vietnam, Indonesia...

Images from Cape Cod>>
by Paul McGuirk/United States

Cape Cod is like any place else in New England, except it isn't. This little piece of land extending out into the Atlantic Ocean means something in and of itself, but doesn't necessarily offer an explanation. It's a place to be alone with others. A place to follow the light. A place...

Rom on the Air>>
by Davide Palmisano/Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

The BTR-Sat TV station broadcasts all over Europe satellite television programs from its seat in Shukta, Macedonia, the tenth municipality of the city of Skopje, and the first and only city hall in the world, recognized institutionally by nationals of Roma origin. The BTR broadcasts programs of entertainment...

Too Hard To Melt: A Photowork on the Aluminum Factory Workers in Chittagong, Bangladesh>>
by Abdullah Hasan/Bangladesh

Poverty causes an estimated 6 to 7 million children to work in Bangladesh, comprising one-fifth of the country's labor force.There are many industries in Bangladesh using child labor, often under hazardous conditions and with little regard for health and safety. Most perform their duties for ...

The Passion Vines of Matara>>
by Austin M Price/Burundi

Much of Burundi's recent history has been plagued with ethnic conflict and marginalization. Namely, the Hutus and Tutsis have dominated public discourse while a third indigenous community, the Batwa, have been shoved aside. Representing 1% of the population of Burundi, this pygmy people has...

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

Fall Issue of ZEKE Just Released 
Order your free digital copy today!

Zeke fall 2015
ZEKE magazine is available in both print and digital formats and features work of leading SDN photographers. The fall issue features visual stories on Syria, Migration, and Gender and interviews with Marcus Bleasdale and Alice Gabriner.
More information and to order >>

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
SocialDocumentary.net 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.