'2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography'.
Winners of 2021 ZEKE Award Announced.

Misha does an extraordinary job documenting the people, life, culture, and magical world of the steppe with his poetic black and white photography. His work reminds us that the urban and digitized world that many of live in today is just one of many on this vast planet, and that the people he photographs are closer to the ageless struggle of human existence than many of will ever experience in our 21st century lives.

Social Documentary Network/SDN Congratulates Five Honorable Mentions in the 2021 ZEKE Award.
Kirsten Rebekah Bethmann, Misha MaslennikovAshkan Shabani, Richard Sharum, David Verberckt.

All winning projects will be exhibited in the SDN/ZEKE exhibition at Photoville this fall in Brooklyn, featured in the fall issue of ZEKE magazine, and exhibited at the Bridge Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts in late 2021.

Bear and Fanny>>
by Kirsten Rebekah Bethmann/United States

This series explores the complexities of marriage when a spouse is afflicted with dementia and their partner is required to take on the role of caretaker. Layers of emotion surface as the ability to remain an equal in the partnership dissolves and the roles begin to resemble that of a parent and child.

The Don Steppe>>
by Misha Maslennikov/Russian Federation

Picture yourself in the midst of the steppe, somewhere out in the open, looking at the horizon. You find your gaze drawn beyond this meeting of earth and sky, to the far side of the visible, so much that you can see nothing other than this inexorable boundary. What’s out there?

“Eshgh, Tars, Azadi” (Love, Fear, Freedom)>>
by Ashkan Shabani/Iran

Iranians face many obstacles. Some come from the regime imposing ideological restrictions and political pressure, while others result from the strained economic situation. Still, more pressure comes from the public’s closed, traditional way of thinking. Homosexuality is a target that both society and the regime are against.

Campesino Cuba>>
by Richard Sharum/Cuba

A four-year documentation of the Campesino people and culture of rural Cuba. Campesino means “farmer” or “rural peasant” and includes some of the most poverty-stricken populations on the island. They number close to 20 miliion and occupy close to 85% of the land in Cuba.

Unending Ethnic Conflict in Burma>>
by David Verberckt/Myanmar

During the past years, I have extensively visited Myanmar’s borderland states of Rakhine, Kachin and Karen, in government controlled areas and ethnic armed groups-controlled territory, in order to try to understand, access and visualize the country’s never-ending ethnic conflicts.


2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Barbara Ayotte is Communications Director for Social Documentary Network and Editor of ZEKE Magazine. She is also a communications strategist, writer and editor for leading nonprofit organizations. Barbara is the Director of Editorial Resources at GBH, America’s preeminent public media organization and the largest producer of PBS content for television and the web and a major supplier of content for public radio and digital audio services. Barbara was the Senior Director of Strategic Communications for Management Sciences for Health, an international non-profit development organization working on global health issues in over 30 countries. Prior to that, she was Director of Communications for Physicians for Human Rights, a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.  

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Greig Cranna is a professional photographer and the founder and director of BRIDGE, a photography gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Greig eventually settled in New York City where he began his photography career in 1976. His diverse clientele included The Council on Foreign Relations, The Japan Society, ABC Television, The International Typeface Corporation, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy. For over 40 years he has worked in the Canadian Maritimes photographing seabird research, Atlantic Salmon research, aquaculture, environmental issues and ecotourism. Since relocating to Boston in 1982, his work has expanded into housing, architecture and commercial agriculture. For the past five years he has been traveling extensively, documenting the new generation of architect-designed bridges and their physical and cultural impact on the landscape.  

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Michael Ensdorf is Professor of Photography/Journalism & Media Studies and Founder and Director of the Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University in Chicago where he helped develop the Journalism and Media Studies program and teaches documentary photography, photojournalism, and photo history. Ensdorf’s photographic work has been widely exhibited, and was included in the seminal exhibitions and publications “Iterations: The New Image” and “Photography after Photography: Memory and Representation in the Digital Age.” His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. As founding director, Ensdorf has developed the Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University into Chicago’s premier space for showcasing contemporary critical social photo-documentary work.  

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Lou Jones maintains a studio in Boston, MA, where 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 GeographicFortune and Paris Match and covered thirteen Olympic Games. Currently Lou Jones has been documenting the entire continent of Africa with his ambitious panAFRICA project. Jones has received awards 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”. 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 him the Ehrmann Award from Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty.  

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Chelsea Matiash is Senior Editor, Digital Transition Strategy at The New York Times, managing the visuals pod of the newsroom development team. She is the secretary of the Newswomen’s Club of New York and has volunteered with various industry organizations, including the Eddie Adams Workshop and Women Photograph Workshop. Previously, she was the senior photo editor at The Intercept, deputy editor for multimedia at TIME, and a photo editor at The Wall Street Journal and The A.P. Chelsea served on the executive board of directors at the National Press Photographers Association from 2016-2018, attended the Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media in 2018, and has served as a juror for Getty Images Editorial Grants, American Photography and The Fence, among others.  

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

Maggie Soladay is Senior Photo Editor at the Open Society Foundations based in NYC. The Open Society Foundations is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world, working to support freedom, democracy, and human rights. She curates the Open Society Instagram feed, where each week a different photography project is featured exploring different human rights issues. Maggie has over 25 years of experience in the photography industry having worked in nearly every role including photo assistant, photographer, location scout, producer, and editor.  

Fall 2021 ZEKE Magazin

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography


ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography
ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

The 2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography is presented by:

ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography
ZEKE. Misha Maslennikov. Documentary photography

About the Social Documentary Network

Social Documentary Network (SDN) is a global community of documentary photographers, editors, curators, NGOs, students, journalists and others who believe in the power of visual storytelling to build understanding and appreciation for the complexities, nuances, wonders, and contradictions that abound in the world today. Since our founding in 2008, the SDN website has featured more than 3,000 exhibits by nearly 2,000 photographers from all corners of the globe. Today, we have grown beyond the boundaries of a computer screen and produce gallery exhibitions, educational programs, calls for entries and our print magazine, ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary. Recent exhibits on SDN have explored migration, the rising seas of Antarctica, Iran, asylum in America, teen mothers, and nomads of Kyrgyzstan.
Click here to view all of the exhibits.