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Documentary 3.0 with Glenn Ruga

SDN Education

Documentary 3.0
A Laboratory for Documentary Photographers to Learn Concepts and Develop Skills to Increase Audience Engagement

Instructor: Glenn Ruga
6:30 – 9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Twelve Wednesdays
Class begins September 23, 2020
Course fee: $800
One scholarship position available

Limited to ten students

Photo by Glenn Ruga

LiveZEKE demonstration at Photoville, September 2015.

Class Description 

Documentary 3.0 is a new learning experience designed as a laboratory for documentary photographers to learn concepts and skills to make a project have impact and increase audience engagement. The laboratory will be directed by Glenn Ruga, founder of the Social Documentary Network and Executive Editor of ZEKE magazine. Ruga is also the founder of LiveZEKE — launched at Photoville in 2016—a concept that for the first time brought subjects of a documentary photography project into real-time conversation with gallery viewers. In this case, the subjects of the documentary were in the South Caucasus, 6,000 miles and eight time zones away from Photoville in Brooklyn, NY.

This laboratory will begin where traditional still-based documentary ends. You have terrific photos exploring an important theme. You have extensively researched the topic, you have testimony, maybe audio or video. Now you want people to not only see your project, you want people to gain awareness, become motivated, to act, and make change. This laboratory will help you develop new concepts and skills to achieve that.

The lab will bring together a diverse group of creative visual storytellers with the goal of developing the tools to bring documentary photography to the next level. All options are on the table for exploration and mastery: sound, video, drones, web applications, exhibitions, publications, community and political advocacy, media, social media. The class will respond to the current and anticipated future stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lab participants will support each other by sharing on the skills that they are expert at with other participants. Glenn Ruga, the lab director, brings expertise in only some of these areas. Skill development will be achieved by all participants working both independently and together and outside experts being brought into the lab as needed. 

What is unique about this lab?

  • The lab will work collaboratively on one documentary project.
  • Participants can submit a project for lab consideration along with their application.
  • All participants will consider themselves “learners” and be open to exploring new technologies, concepts, skills, and solutions.
  • Credit for completed project will be distributed equally.

Schedule: September 23-December 16, 2020

The Lab will meet a minimum of once a week via remote conferencing. Frequent communications in between class meeting among participants is expected. Additional full-class, or working group meetings may be scheduled as needed.

At least two longer Saturday meetings may be scheduled if the class feels it  necessary. Most work for the Lab will be done in your own location while working together toward a collaborative outcome.

Class requirements:

  • Proficiency in still photography, experience in documentary, and high comfort level with learning new digital technologies
  • Functioning laptop computer and access to reliable high speed internet
  • Digital camera with sound/video recording capability
  • Access to Adobe Creative Cloud or similar set of photography, sound, and video editing software.
  • Participants should expect to work 4-8 hours per week, with a greater load toward the end of the year.


Glenn Ruga

Glenn RugaGlenn Ruga is the Founder and Director of Social Documentary Network and the Executive Editor of ZEKE magazine. He is also the former Executive Director of the Photographic Resource Center. Ruga has produced three major documentary projects that each traveled to numerous locations across the United States. He served as a curator of the 2012 New York Photo Festival and has been a reviewer at FotoFest, Review Santa Fe, Palm Springs Photo Festival, New England Portfolio Reviews, PDN Portfolio Reviews, and New England ASMP Reviews. His curated exhibits include Global Health in Focus (Photographic Resource Center, 2012); PRC in NYC (New York Photo Festival, 2012); On the Razor’s Edge: Between Documentary and Fine Art Photography (New York Photo Festival, 2012); Global Warning (555 Gallery, Boston, 2014); Rania Matar, Girls in Between and Nancy Grace Horton, Being 13 (Photographic Resource Center, 2012), and five exhibitions of work from the Social Documentary Network including Crisis and Opportunity: Documenting the Global Recession (2010); Ten Years After 9/11: Searching for a 21st Century Landscape (2011); The Art of Documentary (2012); Using the Power of Photography to Promote Global Awareness (2014); and Winners of the 2019 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography (2019). 


Registration fee
$800 Total
$150 Deposit to confirm registration
$325 Balance due prior to first class

You can pay with a major credit card or with PayPal. If you would like to pay by a different method, please contact us at info@socialdocumentary.net.



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