Nov 2015 Spotlight banner
Dear SDN Readers:

We just returned from the Magnum Photography Expanded conference in New York last week where we were challenged to think about photography beyond a flat rectangular frame. While many panelists presented video and multimedia projects, what is really on the edge and only now being used for serious journalism is Virtual Reality, also known as VR or immersive experiences--or as Susan Meiselas, Director of the Magnum Foundation, says, "the floating mind".
Tomorrow (or today in the New York area) the New York Times is delivering cardboard VR goggles with the Sunday print edition. With this headset and your smart phone (of course we all have them now), you just download the NYT/VR app and can now experience this new and most immersive form of journalism. Only two weeks ago I was listening to Lars Boering, director of World Press Photo, talk about the submission requirements for their esteemed competition, one of which is that a photojournalist must not overtly manipulate the situation. VR stands this on its head and I look forward to the chatter. Jake Silverstein, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Magazine, states in an article introducing NYT/VR that VR technology requires "a subject may be asked to repeat an action, or wait until the filmmaker is out of sight to complete a task." So much for journalists not interfering with the situation.
SDN is not planning on offering VR any time soon, nor is that our goal. We still believe in the power of the visual stories crafted from still images, and are proud to present the work of 10 photographers in this issue of Spotlight, and especially proud to present the work of Maria Cardamone as this month's featured photographer for "Alice Project: The wonderland at school." This documentary is a testament to anti-technology. With her extraordinarily beautiful images, Cardomone brings us into an Alice Project school in India where spiritual teachings, yoga, meditation, and ayuverdic massage are used to heal the stress and attention disorders caused by modern technology. In Alice Project schools, discipline problems, hyperactivity, attention disorders, and learning disabilities are practically non-existent.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder and Director

Maria Cardamone

Photo by Maria Cardamone from Alice Project: The wonderland at school.
Maria Cardamone/November 2015 Featured Photographer of the Month
Alice Project: The wonderland at school       

In an era of computerization and high speed exchange of information through the Internet, mobile devices, and media, western societies are seeing an acceleration in lifestyles resulting in stress and a downward trend in the well-being of new generations. In schools around the world, in fact, students have increasing behavior problems with decreasing attention and concentration skills and more cases of dyslexia and other learning disorders. A solution is an education that combines Western and Eastern practices such as the "Alice Project" method created by two Italian teachers, Luigina De Biasi and Valentino Giacomin. Their school, founded in 1994 in Sarnath, India, is intercultural and open to the lower social classes and includes spiritual teachings, yoga, meditation, and ayuverdic massage with no preferences of religion. It has been proven that in the Alice schools, discipline problems are almost nonexistent and neither are there cases of hyperactivity, attention disorders, or learning disabilities. This new path in teaching, learning and human consciousness has been firmly encouraged by the Dalai Lama

View Exhibit >>

Maria Cardamone
Maria Cardamone is an Italian freelance photographer from Palermo, Italy. She has been working in photography since 2008,following her university training which included courses at the University of Palermo, at Palermophoto, and Reportage course with World Press Photo photographer Fausto Podavini. Her thesis was on geography and analyzed the vision of the geographer Denis Cosgrove who connects the use of aerial photography with mapping and a cultural/political use of maps. From 2012 to 2014 Maria lived in London, where she has worked with studio, portrait, and fashion photographers. Her photographs have been featured in Corriere della sera, La Repubblica, Urban Photography Magazine, Private Magazine, "Don't Take Pictures" Magazine, and Clic.he magazine.

November 2015 Spotlight

Exhibits submitted to SDN in October 2015   

Craig Stennett
by Craig Stennett/Mozambique

On the 17th of September this year, Mozambique was the first country in the world (that had been heavily mined during internal warfare) to declare itself 'cleared' of all known minefields. Quite an achievement. Several years ago i was lucky enough to undertake an assignment in Mozambique with ...

Keith Harmon Snow
by keith harmon snow/China

The venerated Wudang Shan ('shan' 山 is the character for mountain peaks) are known in China as the birthplace of ancient forms of martial arts (Wu Shu) fused with Taoism.  Wudang Shan's Wu Shu forms have competed over time, and complemented, the Wu Shu forms of the ...

Akiko DuPont
by Akiko DuPont/Philippines

On November 23, 1944 war came to a rural settlement of approximately 2000 farmers known as Barangay Mapanique. Mapanique was a suspected hideout for the anti-Japanese guerrillas. Reportedly, the entire village was burnt and boys and men were slaughtered regardless of age. Then women and young giris...

by André Paxiuta/Brazil

On November 29, 2013, his Holiness Pope Francis announced that the year 2015 would be dedicated to the consecrated life. The relevance of this celebration is owed to the fact that the consecrated life is the most intimate expression of the Christian vocation. The Community "Seeds of the Word...

by Errol Daniels/United States

Coal mining has been part of the American experience for over 150 years and is part of intergenerational folklore of Appalachia, yet the lived experience of the coal miner is one of neglect and despair.  A 2014 report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states...

by Pascal Mannaerts/India

They got attacked with acid when they were so young. By people who tried to disfigure them, to destroy their identity, who thought that they could do anything to women and that they could lead them to darkness and silence. Today, here they are. They started campaigning in 2013. The campaign...

by Dmitry Kupriyan/Ukraine

Submunition fragments of military weapons in natural size that have been found on the territory of Donbass, are like pieces of asteroids with grooves and bends, whose sharp edges can easily kill or maim anyone. Each piece has its own history...

by Matthew Conboy/Norway

The Day of Ashura (Day of Remembrance) is the tenth day of Muharram. It is recognized by Shi'a Muslims as the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali and is a day of inactivity and reflection. For Sunni Muslims, this day is celebrated as the day that Moses and his followers were saved from the Egyptians by...

by Errol Daniels/Cuba

An inside look at the people and rituals involved with Santeria in Havana, Cuba.

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

Fall Issue of ZEKE Now Available  
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 >>

Conference and Workshops on the Migration Crisis and Photography
Saturday, November 14 & Sunday, November 15
Tufts University, Medford, MA
Migration The world's leading photojournalists from the VII Photo Agency will explore their coverage of the continuing migration and merging of societies and cultures through a series of presentations and panels featuring recent work from the Syrian refugee crisis and discussion with academic experts followed by a day of hands on workshops. SDN Director Glenn Ruga will be on the 2:00 pm panel on Saturday.
More information and to register >> 

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.