May 2016 Spotlight Banner
Dear Spotlight Readers:

Does photography make a difference? For much of my professional career, I have been insisting that it does. The premise for SDN is to give voice to the struggles for human rights and human decency in the hope that it will move people to at least a greater sensitivity and, at best, greater action. I believe this because photography moves me, educates me, inspires me and, at times, depresses me. That makes a difference.
Today, through social media and the internet, we know more about what is going on in our world and what it looks like than at any other time in human history. Really the question today ought to be what does make a difference at all?
Which brings us to this month's Featured Photographer -- Anca Cernoschi from Romania -- who has made an entire documentary about her grandfather shaving, shot over a six-year period.  There were other exhibits with much more sweeping and "global" themes, but what Anca has achieved is to touch us with the love and care she has for her grandfather, the craftsmanship she brings to the visual form, and the focus on such a simple act most men in this world do almost daily (her grandfather shaves once a week). It doesn't matter what religion or ethnicity or race or sect her grandfather is--just this simple act reminds us that if we can share this common ritual, perhaps there are many more experiences we can share. In a small way, Anca's photographs make a big difference in the world, and that is worth taking notice of.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder & Director

PS. If you live in the Boston area, I hope you can join us on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:00 pm for a ZEKE Chat and Release Party to meet writers and photographers from the spring issue of ZEKE. Click for details.

Digital Silver Imaging


Anna Cernoschi

Photo by Anca Cernoschi from The Fog.
Anca Cernoschi
May 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month
The Fog (Romania)    

This short photo essay is about Anca Cernoschi's 89-year-old grandfather during a typical hot summer day in his home in western Romania, where he lived for the last 45 years. Anca took the first two photos of the series six years ago, without thinking about it as a serious project at that time--she  was just enjoying the moment. At the end of August 2015, she came back to her grandfather shaving as a subject for this documentary.

Until recently, Anca created exclusively fine art photography but became interested in documentary after photographing her grandfather's last years as a very personal and emotional project. Soon after that she was invited by a friend to photograph an event involving children with disabilities. Those experiences have not only taught her a valuable lesson about human life but have also reinforced her interest in the documentary genre.
View exhibit and complete text >>

Anca Cernoschi
Anca Cernoschi is a graphic designer, artist, and documentary photographer from Timisoara, Romania with a BA degree in Decorative Arts and Graphic Design from West University in Timisaora. Her work has been exhibited throughout Romania and in Tokyo, London, Canada, and the United States. Her photographs have been published in JPG Magazine, DP Arte Fotografica, Foto-Video Digital, Fine Art Photo Magazine, and numerous online publications. Her awards include a finalist at HIPA, a nominee at Spider Awards, 2nd place in the Julie Margaret Cameron Award, and 3rd place in the Nikon International Photo Contest.

May 2016 Spotlight 
Featured exhibits submitted to SDN in April


by Maite Hernandez/ US & Mexico

Angelo emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 14. In his road toward the American Dream, Angelo lived on the street and worked in places where he was exploited. In the mid-1990s, a co-worker helped him pursue a high school equivalency degree. Working at grocery stores and studying at the same ...

by Petr Toman/ Ukraine

Thirty years ago, the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. Thousands of people died of radiation, tens of thousands have died of homesickness and stress. But what is Chernobyl today -- a mere passing memory? A destination for nuclear tourists and stalkers? Or a place with its own special...

by Joseph Sorrentino/ Mexico

In 2012, I investigated conditions for Central American migrants traveling through Mexico. At that time, the vast majority rode the cargo trains known as La Bestia, The Beast. Despite facing a horrific journey--it's estimated that 80% of refugees were attacked, 60% of women raped, people ...

by Debiprasad Mukherjee/ India

They said it was an act of God. As the  "Vivekananda Flyover" collapsed in the heart of Kolkata, India on March 31, 2016, resulting in the loss of more than 25 lives, critical injuries of more than 100 victims, the act was definitely of mankind! As the people...

by Ara OSHAGAN/ Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh

From 1990-94, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh in the Caucasus fought a fierce war with Azerbaijan. Long after the ceasefire of 1994, I made my first trip to the region in 1998, when the Armenians had already ceased control of nearly all of Nagorno-Karabagh and added large swaths of land previously...

by Debmalya Ray Choudhuri/ India

Kolkata is one of the most important economic and cultural hubs of India.  In the suburbs of all this noise and humdrum of daily city life, lies one of the biggest open-air waste disposal sites. The area around it has a life of its own -- a life shrouded in squalor and an uncanny solitude...

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 

Emma Brown
Intern, Tufts University

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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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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.