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Dear Spotlight Readers:

When we talk about photography we are really talking about our world. Images are just our way to enter this discussion. It is always fascinating and often tragic to think about what has happened in the world in the 30 days since we sent out our last Spotlight.
This month Orlando, Istanbul, and Brexit happened -- and of course they are not unrelated. The Brexit vote succeeded precisely because of fear of immigrants, particularly immigrants from parts of the world where ISIS reigns. All indications are that the Istanbul airport attack was carried out directly by ISIS. It is less clear that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had any connection to ISIS. More recent analysis of the massacre suggests he acted out of frustration about his sexual identity as a gay Muslim man and possibly anger about a male sex partner who had AIDS. But perception is often what matters most, not reality.
If we bring this back to photography, what is most interesting is the dirth of any iconic images from any of these events other than perhaps a selfie of Mateen which is extraordinary only in its banality.
As this month's Spotlight demonstrates, there is no lack of extraordinary documentary work being done, it just isn't driven by breaking news. And while photojournalism often is entirely driven by daily events, documentary takes a step or two back and looks at more studied themes. We are still seeing tremendous photography about the migration crisis (see Arie Kievit) partially because the crisis is years in the making and gives photographers time to prepare and study the problem. This is also true of the project by Carol Allen Storey on stigma and AIDS, which is now a 30+ year crisis. Some projects are constructions by the photographer such as Miora Rajaonary's moving portraits of interracial couples in South Africa or Tom Atwood's chronicle of Kings & Queens in Their Castles. Among the most unique of this month's submissions is Benjamin Rusnak's diptychs from Zion National Park where he juxtaposes the formal similarities of the natural environment with the same environment now inhabited by humans.
This month's featured photographer, Isadora Kosofsky, has taken the very long view following two brothers, Vinny and David, for four years. Their family is extraordinary only in its struggle to stay together and to maintain their love for each other amidst their own hardships of violence and incarceration. The global view here is that in another dysfunctional family fraught with similar problems, Vinny or David could just as well be on a plane to join ISIS. Too many young people across the world already have.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder & Director 

Call for Entries

Isadora Kosofsky

Photo by Isadora Kosofsky from Vinny and David: Life and Incarceration of a Family.
Isadora Kosofsky
July 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month

"Vinny and David" begins with Vinny, then 13, when he was incarcerated for stabbing his mother's assailant, and shadows him and his older brother, David. This long-term photo essay focuses on the brothers' lives in their family and community over four years in New Mexico.
View exhibit and complete text >>

Isadora Kosofsky
Isadora Kosofsky is a Los Angeles-based documentary photographer and filmmaker. She received the 2012 Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation for her multi-series documentary about the lives and relationships of the elderly. She was a participant in the 2014 Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. She is the recipient of a 2015 Flash Forward Magenta Foundation Award and a 2015 Commended Award from the Ian Parry Foundation. Her projects have received distinctions from Women in Photography International, Prix de la Photographie Paris and The New York Photo Festival. Isadora's work has been featured in The London Sunday Times, Slate, The Washington Post, TIME, Le Monde, American Photo, VICE, NationSwell, Mashable, PDN, The British Journal of Photography, The Huffington Post and The New Yorker Photo Booth, among others. "Vinny and David: Life and Incarceration of a Family" is featured in the Thames and Hudsons' anthology Family Photography Now and Public Private Portraiture of Mossless.  

July 2016 Spotlight 
Featured exhibits submitted to SDN June 1-29, 2016
Arie Kievit
Refugees from Syria making their way north through Europe>>
by Arie Kievit/ Lebanon through Europe to The Netherlands

Refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq, but mainly from Syria, fleeing to Europe, away from war and oppression with the hope of finding a better future. Along the way they encounter many obstacles and often no warm welcome.

Miora Rajaonary
I See You With My Heart>>
by Miora Rajaonary/ South Africa

"I SEE YOU WITH MY HEART" is a multimedia project composed of a series of intimate portraits documenting interracial couples living in the Gauteng province of South Africa. It is complemented by audio interviews that convey their personal experiences as a mixed couple. It is one of the ...

Carol Allen Storey
The Enemy of AIDS "Stigma">>
by Carol Allen Storey/ Uganda

AIDS continues to be a disease feared but not understood as education is sparse and medical councilors administering drugs emphasize the peril of the disease being a death sentence to ensure the drugs are taken. In Sub-Saharan Africa the growth of children contracting the AIDS virus is growing...

Tom Atwood
Kings & Queens in Their Castles>>
by Tom Atwood/ United States

Kings & Queens in Their Castles is the most ambitious photo series ever conducted of the LGBT experience in the USA. Featuring over 200 people at home nationwide, the series includes over 75 luminaries, including Meredith Baxter, Alan Cumming, Don Lemon, John Waters, George Takei, Alison Bechdel...

Gabriel Romero
Lost Daughters of Juarez>>
by Gabriel Romero/ Mexico

In the Mexican city of Juarez, thousands of young women have disappeared and hundreds have been found dead since 1993. This phenomenon has helped usher a new word into the lexicon: Femicide. This is described as the deliberate killing of women, because they are women. Sex trafficking and exploitation...

Benjamin Rusnak
Balancing Act>>
by Benjamin Rusnak/ United States

Preparing for my artist-in-residency at Zion National Park, I faced a daunting challenge. Millions of visitors and iconic photographers have captured this extraordinary place. What could I offer to the visual conversation? 2016 is the centennial of the National Park Service, so I read the original...

Zohreh Saberi
Into the Light>>
by Zohreh Saberi/ Iran

Raheleh lives in Heijle, a highland village in the north of Iran. Her father is a farmer, and her mother suffers from multiple sclerosis, but is able to do some household chores. Raheleh is curious about life, and always wants to know more. Although she is unaware of color, she can sense light ..

David Verberckt
The Stateless Rohingya>>
by David Verberckt/ Bangladesh, Myanmar, India

More than 10 million people worldwide have no nationality and most are stateless by no fault of their own. Not having a nationality usually occurs because of discrimination against certain groups. Over a million Rohingya live in Myanmar (Burma) where they are stateless in their own country...

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

Caterina Clerici

Special Issue Editor 

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Find out how to have your work featured on the SDN website, included in ZEKE, Spotlight, and eligible for Featured Photographer of the Month.  
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SDN Call for Entries:
The Fine Art of Documentary
Deadline, July 5
First place winner will be featured in the fall 2016 issue of ZEKE magazine and receive a $1000 cash prize. More >>
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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.