June 2017 Spotlight Banner
  Photo by Wilhelm Scholz, Featured Photographer of the Month, from "Queensbridge Houses, New York". 
Dear Spotlight Readers:

Like so many progressives, I am obsessed by the turn of events this past year, starting with the Brexit vote and culminating in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. How did it get this bad? Can we wait this out, hoping the pendulum will swing the other way, as it did from the 1950s into the 1960s. Or is the 1930s a more apt analogy, when a global depression culminated in European fascism, the onslaught of WWII, and everything that followed including the Holocaust and the atom bomb.
For almost anything Donald Trump does, SDN has a collection of exhibits arguing otherwise. Last week, after withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, we sent out an email on Climate Change from the spring 2016 issue ZEKE magazine showing the global consequences of rising seas. Anything Trumps says about immigration or immigrants, we have dozens of exhibits demonstrating the strength of immigrants and what they bring to US communities, or any community. Trump is close to rescinding the Obama-era détente with Cuba. SDN has featured Cuba in ZEKE and has dozens of online exhibits exploring all angles of Cuba demonstrating that there is absolutely nothing to fear from opening up to this tiny Island.
I have always wondered if the documentary form is a left-of-center profession. Are there right-of-center documentarians? Perhaps, but I am inclined to think that the profession leans very heavily the other way. Maybe because we believe in facts, or at least the facts that are visible. It has become clear this past year how the other side is not concerned with something that a camera or a microphone or an oscilloscope can capture.

So, we continue with SDN and with ZEKE magazine, more assured than ever of the significance of the work we present of thousands of photographers throughout the world who have a driving passion to explore the globe and its myriad of complex issues.
This month's featured photographer, Wilhelm Scholz, has offered us a window into the largest public housing complex in the US--the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, NY -- home to nearly 7,000 residents living in concrete towers and "a place that has seen both crime as well as success through notables such as rappers Nas, Mobb Deep, and NBA players Sean Green and Vern Fleming, among others." Scholz doesn't comment on the socio-economic complexities of public housing, rather he just lets us briefly visit with his acquaintances, and in the process humanizes what might otherwise be a place we know of as "the projects." Does this exhibit help to bridge racial divides or sensitize middle class whites to a black underclass? I am not sure, but I am sure these are great photos and stories worth looking at.

Glenn Ruga 
SDN Founder & Director     

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F E A T U R E D   P H O T O G R A P H E R   O F   T H E    M O N T H 
Wilhelm Scholz  
Queensbridge Houses, New York  

Wilhelm Scholz
Photo by Wilhelm Scholz. Dorothy is a single mother of one. She often spends time at a fried chicken deli across the street to watch people come in an out of the subway stop outside the window.

"Queensbridge" is the largest public housing project in the United States. It houses over 7,000 residents -- a place that has seen both crime as well as success through notable names such as rappers Nas, Mobb Deep and NBA players Sean Green and Vern Fleming, among others. Queensbridge is a place where crime, hope and fame can be found. The following images are part of a portrait-driven project representing some of the men and women who call Queensbridge their home..
View exhibit and complete text >>

Wilhelm Schulz
Wilhelm Scholz has enjoyed a successful career as both a commercial and documentary photographer and director. Known for his location work, he is equally comfortable shooting portraits, sports and automotive for advertising clients, as he is capturing the underbelly of humanity for his documentary projects. Scholz, who is German and Spanish, grew up mainly in Spain with some of his youth spent in Chile. He studied journalism in college, aspiring to become a war photographer. After a brief internship at NBC News, he decided on a different direction, embarking on a 9-month photographic odyssey documenting the impact of drugs and terrorism in the Andes and Amazonia. See full bio on SDN profile page
June 2017 Spotlight 
Featured exhibits submitted to SDN in May 2017


Albertina d'Urso
Are you ready, Puerto Rico?>>
by Albertina d'Urso/ Puerto Rico

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of U.S. citizenship for residents of Puerto Rico, a Spanish colony for four centuries, which had been ceded to the United States just 19 years earlier, in 1898. But it's a limited form of citizenship: Island residents pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, ...

Gabriel Romero
Liberation and Longing - Inside the Battle for Mosul>>
by Gabriel Romero/ Iraq

The Battle for Mosul began on October 16, 2016 with forces besieging Islamic State-controlled areas in the Nineveh Governorate surrounding Mosul. The coalition forces fighting the Islamic State consist of elements of the Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, Shia Militias and US, French and British...

David Sladek
Britain Rising>>
by David Sladek/ United Kingdom

Five years ago, if somebody in England planned to take part in a demonstration, one would consider them a unique character. Somehow, what was happening in France on an almost weekly basis seemed not cool and British. Despite the great tradition of protest in the UK, Brits didn't bother to raise their...

Lianee Milton
Raising Brazil's Zika Babies>>
by Lianne Milton/ Brazil

First detected in late 2015, the mosquito-borne Zika virus continued to spread in Brazil throughout the following year, alarming health officials and expecting mothers that their babies will be born with an abnormal brain development called microcephaly. While researchers have yet to make a connection...

Kanishka Mukherji
Beyond the Veil>>
by Kanishka Mukherji/ India

Often misinterpreted as a shroud of oppression and a flag of fundamentalism, the burka/burqa, hijab and the niqab have been the center of many controversies in the western world where it is regarded as a security risk. Many Muslim women wear a burka not because someone forced them to, ...

The Rohingyas: A People Without a Home>>
by Probal Rashid/ Bangladesh

Approximately 70,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since October 9, 2016 after the Burmese military launched clearance operations. The U.N. Human Rights Office said in their report that Myanmar's security forces have committed mass killings, torture and gang rapes ...

The old quarry of Bakoteh>>
by Cristian Sarmiento/ Gambia

Popularly known as The Quarry, the Bakoteh dump site is all that remains of an old strip mine. The craters the old stone excavations left behind now harbor the garbage of half a million people in Kanifing, the most densely populated region of Gambia. This is an open pit mine where waste ...

Conditions of Worth: The Experiences of Temporary Foreign Workers>>
by Luigi Pasto/ Canada

This series of photographs documents the lives of temporary foreign workers in Quebec. Most of these workers come from Central America, Africa, and South East Asia. They work during periods ranging from 4 to 10 months, after which they are sent home where they anxiously await an invitation to return...

I am the FIVE.>>
by Miguel Jeronimo/ Cambodia

Lim Mony, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha and Ny Chakrya -- these are the five Cambodian human rights activists who are in pre-trial detention for 365 days. Acknowledging this one-year mark, I prepared a photo exhibition in Phnom Penh called 'I AM THE FIVE...

Children of God>>
by Aleksandra Dynas/ Uganda

Just in Kampala, Uganda, there are more than 10,000 children living on the streets. To get money for food, they work in building demolition, unloading trucks or helping to sell food. The youngest children work collecting plastic bottles or metal scrap. Street children often lack access to clean...

COMING HOME: Reentry After Incarceration>>
by Errol Daniels/ United States

I am a documentary photographer working with author Katherine Russell to tell the stories of people coming out of prison and reentering society. Our stories of 25 participants will be completed by the end of 2017 in a series of photographs and interviews, The exhibit will open at CEPA Gallery ...

The "House of Rights Don Gallo">>
by Mara Scampoli/ Italy

This report was produced over several months at the "House of Rights Don Gallo" an occupied building in the center of Padua from December 2013 until March 2017. At Don Gallo House live over 50 African migrants. Most of the people at Casa Don Gallo have a permit to stay in Italy, but a...

Dance of Hope>>
by Nathalie Vigini/ Colombia

Venezuelan artists in Colombia trying to find their way to a better life. Their dance is full of dream and hope for better conditions for their family back in Venezuela.They dance to represent their country, they dance for hope, and they dance because they believe in a better future ...

Advisory Committee
Lori Grinker
Catherine Karnow
Ed Kashi
Molly Roberts
Jeffrey D. Smith
Jamey Stillings
Stephen Walker
Frank Ward
Amy Yenkin

Glenn Ruga
Founder & Director

Barbara Ayotte
Communications Director

Caterina Clerici

Special Issue Editor 

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Call for Entries Logo SDN Call for Entries: Celebrating the Global Community 
At a time of rising nationalism around the world, show the SDN community and the world's leading photo editors your commitment to the global community and how photography can make a difference. First place winner will be featured in the fall 2017 issue of ZEKE magazine and receive a $1000 cash prize.
Deadline for entries: June 30
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About Social Documentary Network
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.