Photo by Rory Doyle from Delta Hill Riders


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Join us!
Exhibition and Award Reception for Winners of the 2019 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography

September 12-22, 2019
(closed Sept 16-18)
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, NY
Award Reception
Saturday, September 14, 2019
5–7 pm
PowerHouse Arena
28 Adams Street, Brooklyn


Please join SDN & ZEKE magazine, Award winners, sponsors, and SDN Advisory Committee members Ed Kashi, Lori Grinker, and Molly Roberts for a reception to honor the winners of the first ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography. 

Sarah Blesener, recipient of the W. Eugene Smith 2018 Fellowship, an Alexia 2017 Professional Grant, and a Catchlight Fellowship, will talk with the winners about their projects.


Light refreshments and beverages.
Both the Exhibition and Award Reception are free and open to the pubic


Click here for detailed information about the winners


First Place:

Toby Binder from Germany for Youth of Belfast, an exploration of the situation of young people in Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods of Belfast.


Rory Doyle from the US for Delta Hill Ridersshedding light on the overlooked subculture of African American cowboys and cowgirls in the rural Mississippi Delta. 

Toby and Rory's projects will be exhibited in the SDN/ZEKE exhibition at Photoville, September 12-22, in Brooklyn and will also be featured in the fall issue of ZEKE magazine. 

Honorable Mentions:

Paula Bronstein for Elderly Lives from a Frozen Conflicttells a story about the effects of the war in Ukraine on the elderly who are isolated, vulnerable, and their lives frozen in conflict, trapped by a static war. 

Erin Clark for I am All of Creation tells the story of Russell Willier, a powerful Cree healer from Alberta, Canada.

Showkat Nanda for The Endless Wait, gives voice to the mothers and wives of missing men from the war in Kashmir who spend their entire life, often in abject poverty, searching for their loved ones in jails, police stations, army camps and torture centers.

Angelos Tzortzinis for Trapped in Greece. For the past four years, some 90,000 refugees and migrants have been trapped in Greece since countries in the Balkans closed their borders.

The Honorable Mention projects will be presented in a digital display at the SDN/ZEKE exhibition at Photoville and presented in the fall issue of ZEKE magazine.



First Place

  • Solo exhibition of your winning project at Photoville 2019, September 12-22, Brooklyn, NY. SDN will cover all printing, mounting, and installation expenses.

  • Recognized at an awards reception during Photoville.

  • Up to $1,000 in travel expenses to attend Photoville.

  • Featured in the fall 2019 issue of ZEKE magazine.

  • Featured in email Spotlight sent to SDN’s 8,500 members.

  • Featured on SDN’s home page.

  • Featured on SDN’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.

Honorable Mention

  • Digital projection of your work in the SDN Gallery at Photoville.

  • Recognized at an awards reception during Photoville.

  • Presented in the fall 2019 issue of ZEKE magazine.

  • Receive 100 "frames" from SDN to be used for new exhibits or renewals. ($85 cash value)

  • Leica will present one Leica Sofort Instant Camera and six boxes of instant film to one Honorable Mention winner drawn at random at the award ceremony on September 14, at PowerHouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY. Honorable mentions must be present at ceremony to be in the drawing.

  • Featured in email Spotlight sent to SDN’s 8,500 members.

  • Featured on SDN’s home page.

  • Featured on SDN's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.

Other  photographers will be selected from both the Call for Entries submissions and from the entire archives of SDN to be included in two other articles in ZEKE magazine.

Other benefits of submitting your work to the ZEKE Awards

  • Your work will be eligible for publication in all future issues of ZEKE magazine.

  • All entries are considered for our email Spotlight and in our social media.

  • All entries remain live on the SDN website for one year and can be renewed. The SDN website is viewable and searchable by the thousands of people who visit the SDN website each week.

  • SDN periodically does other special online publications, including InFocus, that your work is eligible to be featured in.


In you are not already a subscriber of ZEKE magazine, click here.


Dimitri Beck

Dimitri Beck is head of photography at Polka (magazine + gallery) that he founded with the Genestar family in 2008. Before that, from 2004 to 2006, he ran the Aina Photo agency in Kabul where he trained and supported a generation of Afghan photographers. He was also editor-in-chief of the French and English bilingual magazine Les Nouvelles de Kaboul/ New Afghanistan. Dimitri started his career as an independent journalist in 1998, and worked extensively in Central Asia and in the Caucasus region. He gives frequent conferences on photojournalism and teaches in the journalism department at Sciences Po, Paris. He also has a weekly radio slot about photography on France Info.


Chloe Coleman is an award-winning international photo editor at The Washington Post. She is a contributing writer and editor on the Washington Post’s In Sight photo blog where she has written about and featured contemporary photography, photo books and exhibitions. Her career in photo editing began as an intern at NPR, followed by her first staff position as a digital photo editor at The Denver Post. She attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and is a graduate of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Chloe also serves as a faculty member at The Kalish Visual Editing Workshop and has judged a variety of photography competitions including Magenta Flash Forward and Critical Mass.

Lou Jones

Lou Jones: Lou Jones' career has spanned every format, film type, artistic movement and technological change. He maintains a studio in Boston, MA and has photographed for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies, national and international companies. He has completed assignments for magazines and publishers such as Time/Life, National Geographic, Fortune and Paris Match and covered thirteen summer and winter Olympic Games. Currently Lou Jones has been documenting the entire continent of Africa with his ambitious panAFRICA project. Jones has been awarded accolades from organizations such as Communication Arts Magazine, Art Directors Club of Boston, Travel Photographer of the Year, and International Photographic Council (United Nations). Nikon recognizes Jones as a "Legend Behind the Lens" and Lowepro has honored him as a "Champion". Jones has exhibited his diverse imagery in museums, universities and colleges. He has lectured and taught workshops all over the world including at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University, and Estúdio Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first book Jones published, Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row, earned Lou the Ehrmann Award from Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty. Since then, he has published numerous other books including Travel+Photography: Off the Charts.


Olivia Kestin is the Senior Photo Editor for Global Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy organization and social action platform, which is working to end global poverty and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At Global Citizen, she leads photography content creation for all platforms and serves as the photo director for the Global Citizen Festival, an annual day-long music festival featuring world leaders, activists, and musical performances. Previously, Olivia covered domestic and international news as a photo editor with MSNBC. She is an alumna of George Washington University where she studied Political Science and Journalism. Olivia splits her time between New York and Los Angeles.


Lekgetho Makola is the Head of Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. He sits on the

International Advisory Committee to the Board of CatchLight – San Francisco, and was on the Curatorial

Advisory Committee of the 2017 Bamako Encounters - Mali. He was in the judging panels for the W. Eugene Smith International Photography Award 2016, CAP Prize Award 2017/2019, Ernest Cole Photography Awards 2017, the Thami Mnyele Arts Awards 2017/2018, the World Press Photo Global Talent Programme – Africa Region 2018 and the World Press Photo Jury-Portraiture 2019 .He is an International Ford Foundation Fellow on Social Justice 2009, and a Graduate of Howard University in Washington DC USA with a MFA in Film Studies 2013. He worked for the Durban Art Museum, Robben Island Museum including an internship at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. He co-founded Kali TV, an online media platform in 2012.


Kathrin Mueller: As photo editor, Kathrin Mueller has been producing photo stories and managing the photography department at German National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller (German editions) for over sixteen years. Prior to National Geographic, she was photo editing at different German magazines and at a book-publishing house. Kathrin has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kiel, Germany, and lives in Hamburg. 

Molly Roberts

Molly Roberts: Photography editor, curator, and photographer; she recently joined National Geographic magazine as a Senior Photography Editor after 15 years as Chief Photography Editor at Smithsonian Magazine. Molly is the acting director of the DC-based, Women Photojournalists of Washington. With 25 years experience in the magazine publishing world, she is responsible for the content and appearance of many magazines, books, web sites and apps. She is an advocate for powerful visual storytelling and human rights and recently created the non-profit HumanEyesUSA to present documentary photography projects in public spaces and to use powerful imagery to help illuminate complex issue facing America.

Fiona Shields

Fiona Shields: Fiona has over twenty years' picture editing experience across a range of newspaper titles. Throughout her career she has been involved in the coverage of some of the most historic news stories of our time including the events surrounding 9/11, conflicts around the world from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan, the revolution of the Arab spring and the continuing violence in the Middle East, large scale natural disasters and the humanitarian crises resulting from the growing refugee numbers across the globe. In addition she has delivered talks at photo festivals, taken part in mentoring programs for students of photojournalism and has enjoyed judging the Sony World Photography Awards, Lensculture Exposure Awards, the Renaissance Photography Prize to name a few. Last year she was on the jury of the esteemed Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and is a regular nominator for the world famous Prix Pictet Award.


How to Enter

Entering the ZEKE Awards for Documentary Photography is identical to creating a standard exhibit on the SDN website, except that it is flagged as an award entry for the jurors and you pay the submission fee immediately after submitting your project. Click here for details on how to prepare and submit your work to SDN. When you are ready to enter, click the Enter Now button, or click here.

Entry Requirements

Entries must be documentary. We define this broadly, but an important quality is that the intent is to tell a visual story about the subject of your photographs. If the work is more about you as an artist, then it would not be appropriate for SDN or ZEKE magazine. Composited photographs (photo collages) are not accepted.

All entries must have between 6 and 30 photographs related to a specific theme. The submission may also have a multimedia component to supplement the still images. Submissions must have an abstract to provide context (180 words maximum) and captions to accompany the photographs.

Additional text about the situation being documented may also be entered, as well as a bio of the photographer, information on organizations working with affected communities, and other relevant information. Photographs must have been taken after January 1, 2009 unless the work is part of a long-term project that began prior to 2009 and continues to the present.

All work must be submitted via the Social Documentary Network website. For specific image specifications, click here. Images must be a minimum of 1500 pixels in one dimension.

All entries are automatically and simultaneously submitted for exhibition on the Social Documentary Network website and must follow all rules and regulations regarding exhibits on SDN.

Exhibits on need to be approved before going live (click here for more information). In the event that an entry to the Call for Entries is not accepted for the SDN website, the photographer may make changes to their exhibit and re-submit, at no additional cost, up until the entry deadline. Greater than 90% of all exhibits submitted to SDN are approved.


Photographers can only submit one entry each year to the ZEKE Awards.


All submissions will be viewable to the public on the SDN website. Once your exhibit is accepted, it will remain live on the SDN website for one year. You may choose to hide your entry from the public, but if you hide your entry prior to the completion of judging (June 24), you will also hide your site from the jurors.

Converting Existing SDN Exhibits to an Awards Submission

Existing exhibits on SDN can easily be converted to an awards submission by logging into your account, going to the exhibit you want to convert, and click a button at the top of the page to convert to the awards.


The ZEKE Award is open to professional and amateur US and international photographers. SDN staff, volunteers, advisory committee members, judges, and their families are not eligible to enter. Previous SDN Call for Entries first-place winners in the past five years are not eligible to enter. There is no restriction for honorable mention winners from prior years.

Entry Fees

$30 for one exhibit entry of 6 – 30 images and one multimedia piece. All fees must be paid using a credit or debit card on the SDN website. International credit cards are accepted. All entry submissions and fees are final and non-refundable.


Scholarships are available for photographers from countries without access to credit cards or where there the submission fee would be prohibitive. To apply, send an email to with an explanation of your need. Requests for scholarships must be received one week prior to submission deadline.

Important Dates

  • Award submissions accepted on SDN website beginning April 10, 2019

  • Submission deadline: Midnight EST, May 31, 2019

  • Judging: June 7–June 24, 2019

  • Winners Announced: By July 1, 2019

  • Photoville exhibition: September 12-22, 2019

  • Award Reception: Saturday, September 14, PowerHouse Arena, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 

  • Published in ZEKE: Fall 2019

Use Rights

All entrants and winners retain copyright of their work. By submission for jurying, photographers grant SDN a royalty-free license to use their images for the purpose of subsequent display on the SDN site, in SDN promotional materials, and in ZEKE magazine. Entries grant SDN the right to use their name for promotion in any medium including radio, newspapers, publications, television, videotape, and/or distribution over the internet. Samples of the winning work will be released to the press for promotional purposes. Photographers grant use of their images as stated without further contact or compensation from SDN other than the prizes listed above. Photographer’s credit will be provided with all use.


Entrant acknowledges that SDN may not be held liable for any loss, damages, or injury associated with this contest. Entrant agrees to indemnify SDN for all costs, damages and attorney fees resulting from any third party claims, including copyright infringement, arising from entrant’s participation. Entrant must have rights to publish images.


SDN reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant that fails to comply with contest and website rules and guidelines.

About SDN

Social Documentary Network (SDN) uses the power of photography to promote global awareness. SDN members include photographers, editors, NGOs, journalists, curators, and students who create and explore documentary websites 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.


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