John Rae
  Photo by John Rae from The Positive Community.

John Rae receives first place for "The Positive Community" exploring people living with AIDS and their successes and struggles.           

SDN is thrilled to present the winners of our recent Call for Entries, Celebrating the Global Community. The judges selected one first-place winner and four honorable mentions. The work submitted was outstanding and a clear demonstration of the commitment and interest in documentary photography and visual storytelling.   

The first place winner is John Rae from the US for his project The Positive Community, documenting people living with AIDS around the world and how HIV/AIDS, no longer a death sentence but a manageable disease with proper treatment, is still not without its struggles. The Positive Community will be featured in the upcoming issue of ZEKE magazine.

Honorable mentions are Giorgio Bianchi, from Italy, for Donbass Stories (Ukraine), Alexandra Dynas, from Poland, for Children of God (Uganda), Saud Faisal, from Bangladesh, for Water Prisoners, and Sara B. May, from the US for After the Crisis (Sierra Leone). See below for more details on these projects.

We very much want to thank the jurors for their contribution to this Call for Entries:
  • Barbara Ayotte: Senior Director of Strategic Communications, Management Sciences for Health, Editor, ZEKE magazine.
  • Jeff Campagna: Associate Photo Editor, Smithsonian Magazine
  • Elizabeth Cheng Krist: Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic
  • Kurt Mutchler: Senior Photo Editor for Science, National Geographic magazine
  • Quentin Nardi: Chief Photo Editor, Smithsonian Magazine
  • Glenn Ruga: Founder and Director, Social Documentary Network; Executive Editor of ZEKE magazine
SDN would also like to sincerely thank all of the photographers who submitted to this call. We look forward to seeing more of  your work. Click here for more information on this Call for Entries and the prizes received by the winners. Click here to view all the submissions.   

First Place
John Rae
The Positive Community      

Photo by John Rae
From The Positive Community by John Rae. This AIDS orphan outside of Kigali, Rwanda is supported through a program that helps pay for his food, lodging, and education. He lives in a community house with other orphans who support each other.  

Since the discovery and worldwide distribution of ARV drugs, the community of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) has been growing. HIV infection is no longer a death sentence and living with HIV has become an issue of maintenance. Consequently, demands from the PLWA community for services has grown. Now Peer Educators conduct outreach to educate community members on how to protect themselves and the ones that they love. Community organizers dispense harm reduction materials and work with members to find ways to reduce risky practices. Discrimination and stigma still exist so the community has begun to start their own businesses through Income Generating Activity clubs.  

John Rae
John Rae is a professional documentary and commercial photographer and videographer with over 25 years of experience. He specializes in photographs of people on location and has provided compelling images to a wide variety of clients, including leading international non-governmental organizations and Fortune 500 companies. He is an intrepid traveler and a gifted visual storyteller who has photographed on assignment in over 85 countries. He is masterful at capturing the essence of human dignity and ingenuity in demanding circumstances, providing his clients with the best opportunity to communicate their objectives. He has won numerous awards and his work has appeared in exhibitions and major publications in the US, Europe, and Australia. Examples of his work can be found at .

Honorable Mentions 

Giorgia Bianchi
Donbass stories - Spartaco and Liza>>
by Giorgio Bianchi/ Ukraine

Right after the outbreak of the conflict in Donbass, Spartaco left his job and the house where he was living with his mother to enlist as a volunteer in the ranks of the pro-Russian militias. Convinced he had nothing to lose, ideologically very motivated and relying on his previous military training...

Aleksandra Dyans
Children of God>>
by Aleksandra Dynas/ Uganda

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 scrap metal. Street children often lack access to clean...

Saud Faisal
Water Prisoners>>
by Saud A Faisal/ Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the worst victim of global climate change, hence a huge population faces floods every year. People move to the nearest highland to take temporary shelter, keeping their home behind in the flash floods. Until the water reaches above their knees, they try to remain in their home with a hope of the water...

Sara May
After the Crisis>>
by Sara B. May/ Sierra Leone

With its insidious onset in May of 2014, the Ebola epidemic proceeded to ravage Sierra Leone for nearly two years, leading to the deaths of nearly 4,000 people. In December 2014, Francis Yorpoi lost both parents--his mother, a homemaker, and his father, a photographer--within two weeks...

Submit Your Work to SDN
Find out how to have your work featured on the SDN website, included in ZEKE, Spotlight, and eligible for Featured Photographer of the Month. MoreĀ» 

ZEKE 2017 cover Subscribe to ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary
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. MoreĀ»


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.