Display images
Dear Spotlight Readers:

After more than a year of the most raucous campaign ever seen in American politics, the American public will choose one candidate for president-Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
This campaign brings up the essence of what the Social Documentary Network is all about. We are not about fantasy, obfuscation, or the marketplace for art. We strive to present topographic facts as recorded by the photographic process, wherever these facts may be; struggling coal miners, healthcare workers and patients, organic farmers, teachers, artists, migrant farm workers, Walmart employees, oil workers, alternative energy workers, and others. This is the stuff we love to present. We strive to show what real people struggle with across America and around the world.   
The essence of SDN is that we both respect and are fascinated by the narratives of individuals who make up the 99% because that is what is real in this world. It is also at the core of this election.
Tomorrow, when America goes to the polls, will we either elect someone who has never done anything for the 99%? Or will we elect someone who has spent a career defending the rights of children, women, minorities, immigrants, refugees, and workers?   
This month's featured photographer, David Bacon,
has turned his lens on the 99%, the working class residents of Yakima in central Washington state. Some are Latinos who came during the Bracero program when the US welcomed workers from south of the border to provide cheap labor for the arduous work of harvesting food for this nation. Others are workers from the former Boise Cascade plywood mill that closed in 2006. When we look at the industrial and manufacturing workers of this country, it is not the undocumented immigrants who have stolen the jobs. It is the advance of technology that allows industry to produce more goods and services with less labor. That is the true challenge that either candidate needs to embrace in 2017.   Depending on how this riddle is solved will determine the future prosperity, or poverty, of the 99% in this country. 
Glenn Ruga 
SDN Founder & Director


Songs for Syria
Songs for Syria: A Concert for Humanitarian Relief. November 13, Boston

Print editions of Media and Information Policy Journal (MIPJ) are available via pre-order and will be distributed internationally by Ingram.
David Bacon

Photo by David Bacon from Yakima.
David Bacon
November 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month

"Yakima" is a multi-level portrait of a working class community in central Washington State. The photographs reveal its human face of work and poverty. They explore the geography of its barrios and workplaces--both the closed factory of Yakima's past and the agricultural fields of its present.
View exhibit and complete text >>

David Bacon David Bacon is a photographer based in Oakland and Berkeley, California. He is the author of several books about migration including: The Children of NAFTA (University of California Press, 2004), Communities Without Borders (ILR/Cornell University Press, 2006), Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008), and The Right to Stay Home (Beacon Press, 2013). His latest book of photographs and interviews with farm workers, In the Fields of the North, will be published in December by the Colegio de la Frontera Norte. David Bacon was a factory worker and union organizer for two decades with the United Farm Workers and the International Ladies Garment Workers and other unions. Today he documents the changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy, war and migration, and the struggle for human rights.   

November 2016 Spotlight

Featured exhibits submitted to SDN in October 2016  

Calais: A jungle built on the sand>>
by Mattia Alunni Cardinali and Mara Scampoli/ France

Calais is a small village on the northern coast of France: its port is the departure and arrival point of most of the ferries coming from the UK, and from 1994 also a crossing point for the trains that run through the Channel Tunnel. For its privileged position, it has become the location for...

La Esmeralda>>
by Cesar Suarez/ Colombia

"Will you guys come back tomorrow?"asked Steven Morales, a five-year-old boy who lives in La Esmeralda in rural Supata province, 250km from Colombia's capital, Bogota. My response was just as brief as his question: "I hope I can come back soon Steven, but I don't think tomorrow...

Blood-red face of Urmia lake>>
by Ali Abbaspour/ Iran

Lake Urmia is a salt lake situated in a national park in north-west Iran. It was once the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth-largest saltwater lake in the world.The lake has shrank to 10% of its former size due to damming and the extraction of groundwater. Iran's briny Lake Urmia rec...

Women Making Attiéké>>
by William Farrington/ Cote D'Ivoire

"Making attiéké is a communal effort," said Danho Honorine, coordinating the efforts of a dozen or so women. Attiéké is a staple of Ivorian cuisine, accompanying main courses. Couscous-like in appearance, with a chewy texture and slightly tangy flavor. On a nearby ...

The Life of Hijra - Understanding India's Transgendered>>
by Vidhyaa/ United Arab Emirates

The transgender community in India, known as hijras, play a unique role in society. On the one hand, they are called upon to offer blessings during  occasions such as weddings and births. The rest of the time, they are not only ignored but often ostracized from society. Many hijras...

The Food We Eat, The Food We Waste>>
by Meghanadan/ India

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has 27 biogas plants with a joint capacity to process about 133 tonnes of garbage a year...

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 

Follow Us
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn View our photos on flickr

Submit Your Work to SDN
And be featured in ZEKE magazine
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 >>
Subscribe to ZEKE magazine
Subscribe to ZEKE magazine and get the best of global documentary photography delivered to your door, and to your digital device, twice a year. Each issue presents outstanding photography from the Social Documentary Network. More >>

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.