About SDN


Using the Power of Photography to Promote Global Awareness

SocialDocumentary.net is a website for photographers, NGOs, editors, journalists, lovers of photography and anyone else who believes that photography plays an important role in educating people about our world.

Launched in October 2008, SocialDocumentary.net (SDN) today has nearly 2,000 compelling online exhibits by photographers from all corners of the globe documenting issues as diverse as the effects of modernization on Kathmandu, homelessness in the U.S., the consequences of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta, and reconciliation in Rwanda. All photographers on SDN share a common curiosity about the human condition and a strong desire to communicate their insights through words and photographs.

Benefits for Photographers

SDN makes it easy and affordable for photographers to create online exhibits of their documentary projects on the fastest growing documentary website. The greatest difference between SDN and other image sharing or portfolio websites is that we review all exhibits before going live to ensure that they meet the following criteria:

  1. Aesthetic quality. The photographs must have a strong point of view and have a deliberate and meaningful composition.
  2. Documentary integrity. The images and the writing must avoid sensationalism, factual information must be accurate, and the images must be respectful of the subject and viewer.
  3. Technical quality of digital files (resolution, focus, exposure, etc.) Only fewer than 10% of exhibits are not approved and we work with a photographers to bring their exhibit up to the level required to go live. We do not edit or curate exhibits. The content on SDN is completely user-generated.

SDN photographers also receive a personal home page on SDN with a photo and bio and a link from the exhibit to the photographer’s personal website. Photographers can also promote the link to their SDN website on their personal site, blog, or social networking pages. All of this creates greater awareness of their work and their issues. Their work becomes accessible to the more than 10,000 monthly visitors to SDN.

Beyond Photography

SDN also provides tools for photographers to inform viewers how to take action by linking their exhibits to NGOs engaged in work related to the subject of the exhibits.

SDN’s image bank of hundreds of photos is a valuable tool for journalists, policymakers, NGOs, and students seeking to better understand the human condition.

What is Required to Create and Exhibit

The minimum requirements to create an exhibit on SDN are a compelling story about an issue related to the human condition, six good photographs, an abstract describing the overall theme, and captions. In order to maintain an exhibit, SDN charges a nominal fee of 99 cents per image per year. These fees are used toward overall maintenance and development of the website.

More Than a Website

In addition to the website, SDN also sends out bi-weekly emails spotlighting recent exhibits. Our email list includes more than 3,000 photographers, editors, NGOs, journalists and people interested in documentary photography. We also have periodic competitions on themes related to the human condition, resulting in prize money, exhibitions and publications.

Create a free membership today as a first step in creating or exploring documentary websites on SDN!

We encourage you to join today and add your images and writing to SocialDocumentary.net. Begin using the site as your source for visual information about our world.