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Dear Spotlight Readers:

A year-and-a-half ago we launched ZEKE magazine and are completing our fourth issue that will be printed and mailed by early October. We are now about to launch our most innovative project yet -- LiveZEKE. 
LiveZEKE is not introducing new technology, nor is it an embellishment on existing technology. Rather, LiveZEKE is doing what has not been done before -- bringing the subjects of documentary projects into direct live conversation with the viewers of a documentary. How many of us have shot still or video documentaries and just relished how fortunate we were to be able to engage with our subjects the way we do, and also knowing that the viewers will never have this same experience. We may craft wonderful photos, but we also know that the photograph is not the thing. I love photos, especially printed photos. But I also love the experience I have while taking photos of people and getting to know them and engaging with them. It is that experience that we are reaching for with LiveZEKE. And it is also empowering the people whose stories we want to tell to be involved in telling their own stories.
We have set the most challenging goals for our first presentation of LiveZEKE at Photoville starting September 22. Our subjects, originally appearing in the last issue of ZEKE magazine, are from the South Caucasus, speaking a little-known language, eight time zones away, and in all cases in small towns and villages that somehow will manage to serve up reliable internet. I very much want to thank our partner photographers who have made all of this possible: Daro Sulakauri, Ara Oshagan, and Jan Zychlinski. I hope you can join us for LiveZEKE discussion. Click here for details.
We are very excited this month to present Austin Beahm as Featured Photographer for his project Thailand's Aspiring Fighters. This is a subject we have seen before on SDN and are excited to see how Austin has presented it differently, intimately, and with very informative text about the issues of Thai boys who have little opportunities aside from boxing to bring them out of poverty.

Glenn Ruga
SDN Founder & Director 


Documentary Matters
A free and open meeting for presenting, viewing, or discussing documentary photography.  
Tuesday, Sept. 13 
6:30 pm 
Digital Silver Imaging 
Belmont, Massachusetts  
                   More Info>>   
Austin Beahm

Photo by Austin Beahm from Thailand's Aspiring Fighters.
Austin Beahm
September 2016 Featured Photographer of the Month

This story focuses on the aspiring fighters that inhabit the vibrant and colorful world of Muay Thai kickboxing, Thailand's national sport. It's setting is in the heart of Bangkok's historic Rajadamnern Stadium where fighters do battle, and the spartan gyms where they live and train communally.
Young fighters from rural provinces fight to transcend poverty and better their lives through Muay Thai, beginning their fighting career as early as eight years of age despite being forbidden by Thai national law. Their path is often perilous, including the risk of injury and the ominous presence of gambling and corruption that pervades the sport. A select few, though, will ascend from the ranks to find riches, fame, and a name in Thai society.
View exhibit and complete text >>

Austin Beahm
Austin Beahm is a photographer and university lecturer of Geography and International Studies. His focus is travel and documentary photography in Latin America and Asia. In 2014, he was selected for publication in the "Food, Our Global Kitchen" exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. And in 2015, he was chosen by National Geographic for publication in the "End Poverty" exhibit at the World Bank Headquarters.

September 2016 Spotlight   
Featured work submitted to SDN in August 2016
Arka Dutta
Fishermen Locality of Puri>>
by Arka Dutta/ India
The city of Puri in Odisha state of India has one of the most popular tourist beaches in the country. Loads of tourists come here to enjoy. But take a short walk from the bus stand north and one will end up in the fishermen community, an environment which is in complete contrast to the...
Francisco Alcala Torreslanda
For Her Sake - Women's Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe>>
by Francisco Alcala Torreslanda/ Mexico
For 57 years, women from the State of Queretaro, Mexico have walked every year from their communities to the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe. The Basilica is built near the hill of Tepeyac where the Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego in the 16th century. The Basilica ...
Virginia Allyn
A Block In Harlem>>
by Virginia Allyn/ United States
An American tragedy. This is a story of a block in east Harlem. It is a block of misery. Some of the misfortune is self made. Some not. The block is a desperate place where crime, violence, poverty, mental illness, addiction, homelessness all exist. I met great people struggling with their lives. Others valiantly forged ahead with dreams in their mind ...
Olafur Jonasson
Gay Pride Reykjavik 2016>>
by Ólafur Jónasson/ Iceland
The theme of Reykjavik Pride this year is 'Our History' -- the history of queerpeople. We look back and think about how the past has shaped our society and ourselves. In Iceland our history is still largely unwritten, but it lives within us; in the stories we tell about ourselves and ...

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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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.