Dear Spotlight Readers: 

I want to congratulate Jan Banning for receiving first place in our call for entries on Visual Storytelling Exploring Global Themes for his extraordinarily powerful project on Law & Order exploring the criminal justice system in four countries. I also want to congratulate the honorable mentions and finalists, and thank again the jurors for the enormous amount of time and energy they put into this project . Complete details on the winners and jurors can be found here. Look for Jan's winning work in the upcoming issue of ZEKE magazine.
This month's featured photographer is Arka Dutta from Kolkata, India for his project "Eve Was Framed" exploring how mythology and religion are used to oppress women in India. Right behind Arka are other very powerful exhibits including Dario Sulakauri's project on adolescent brides in Geogia, Salym Fayad on the aftermath of the insurgency in Mali, and Kristin Lyn on the aftermath of last year's earthquake in Nepal. Each of these photographers deserves recognition for their dedication and accomplishments in using the documentary form to explore these very important global issues.
This is not the place to comment on US presidential politics, but I do want to mention the rough handling that Time photographer Christopher Morris received at a Trump rally earlier in the week when he stepped 18 inches out of the press pen to photograph Black Lives Matter protesters. Morris found himself thrown to the ground in a choke hold by US Secret Service agents. This is outrageous treatment of a respected and highly professional journalist. Freedom of the press is unambiguously spelled out in the US Constitution and is the foundation of our democracy. Regardless of what candidates say about the conduct of media at their campaign rallies, the US Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies must uphold first amendment rights at all costs.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder & Director
Call for Entries

ZEKE covers
Arka Dutta

Photo by Arka Dutta from Eve Was Framed.
Arka Dutta
March 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month
Eve Was Framed (India)   

Arka Dutta's stunning black and white images explores how myth and religion are often used in India as a means to maintain the subjugation and oppression of women. In the world's second most populous country, women too often find themselves on the battleground of India entering a modern and open society. Dutta gives us insight into how this struggle plays out on a very personal level.

"In my country, India, I have seen religious notions that have often ingrained a sense of powerlessness in the psyche of many women, especially to those without proper literacy and sometimes from conservative family backgrounds. In such cases, women's cultural and social subordination is allegedly rooted in cultural myths and stories. This age-old allegation and practice have sometimes resulted in the belief of women's inferiority to men and women's acceptance of their own oppression."

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Arka Dutta
Arka Dutta is an amateur photographer living in Kolkata, India focusing mostly on documentary projects. He studied and works as a mechanical engineer but loves to experience other cultures, meet different people from diverse communities and work on social issues including volunteering with NGOs in Kolkata involved in providing education to the underprivileged students. Currently he is working on a project dealing with empowerment of blind people. Photography is his way of sharing with the world how he see things whether they are humorous, serious, playful, profound or just ordinary.  

March 2016 Spotlight
Featured exhibits submitted in February 2016

Daro Sulakauri
by Daro Sulakauri/ Georgia
(Ongoing photo project on early marriages in Georgia). The Kakheti and Adjara regions of Georgia have one of the highest rates of early marriage in Europe.  It is most common among religious and ethnic minorities. In villages, large numbers of girls drop out of school to be married.
Salym Fayad
by Salym Fayad/ Mali
In early 2013, a French military intervention put an end to an 11-month long Islamist occupation of northern Mali. Extremist groups had tried to establish a brutal regime based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Most of the militants were expelled from the main cities, but the aftermath...
Kristin Lau
by Kristin Lau/ Nepal
This series offers a glimpse of Nepal six months after the 7.8 magnitude (April 25th, 2015) and 7.3 magnitude (May 12th, 2015) earthquakes that devastated the region. In a country that has endured long-term political hardship and instability, a lack of electricity remains one of the biggest barriers...
by Tina Manley/ Guatemala
During the Guatemalan civil war, many Mayan villages in the northwestern highlands were invaded and the men were all killed. Today there are still villages of only widows and orphans in Ixtauhuacan. Children are referred to as orphans if they have lost their fathers. Many women were raped during the...
by John Stratoudakis/ Greece
Almost from the begining of the severe financial crisis, John Stratoudakis captured the daily life and struggle of Alexandros, Tasos, Elias and Thodoris. They are young farmers and breeders from the village of Drakeia on Mount Pelion. Young men with dreams, hopes and wishes like the rest of their ...

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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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.