SDN Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee
Documentary Advisory Group

Catherine Edelman, Chicago, IL

Catherine EdelmanDecember 1, 2021, marked the 34-year anniversary of Catherine Edelman Gallery, a venue for contemporary fine art photography in Chicago. Since its founding in 1987, the gallery has established itself as one of the leading galleries in the US devoted to the exhibition of prominent living photographers, alongside new & young talent. The gallery showcases a broad range of subject matter, attracting both the seasoned collector and first-time buyer. Our website provides a wealth of information, including artist talks, interviews with art world professionals, and extensive educational material. CEG has hosted more than 250 public exhibitions, featuring more than 200 artists.

Lori Grinker, New York, NY
Lori GrinkerLori Grinker began her photographic career in 1981 while a student at Parsons School of Design when Inside Sports published her photo-essay about a young boxer as its cover story. During that time she met another young boxer, 13 year-old Mike Tyson, who she documented for the following decade. Since then, in addition to her reportage of events such as the destruction of the World Trade Center, she has delved into several long-term projects, and published two books: The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (Jewish Publication Society, 1989, 6 editions), and Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict (de.MO, 2004).

Published in major magazines, her work has earned international recognition, garnering a World Press Photo Foundation Prize, an Open Society Institute Distribution grant, a W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund fellowship, the Ernst Hass Grant, The Santa Fe Center for Photography Project Grant, and a Hasselblad Foundation Grant, among others. Her photographs have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the world and are in many private and museum collections including: The International Center of Photography (ICP), The Jewish Museum in New York City, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Between editorial assignments, commercial jobs (represented by MEO Represents), and personal projects, Grinker lectures, teaches workshops, and is on the faculty of the ICP in New York City. She is represented by the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York and has been a member of Contact Press Images since 1988.

Catherine Karnow, San Francisco, CA
Catherine KarnowBorn and raised in Hong Kong, San Francisco-based National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow seems destined to have travel and photojournalism at the center of her life. She graduated Brown University with honors degrees in Comparative Literature and Semiotics.

Catherine has covered Australian Aborigines; Bombay film stars; Greenwich, Connecticut high society; and an Albanian farm family. In 1994, she was the only non-Vietnamese photojournalist to accompany General Giap on his historic first return to the forest encampment in the northern Vietnam highlands from which he plotted the battle of Dien Bien Phu. She also gained unprecedented access to Prince Charles for her 2006 National Geographic feature, “Not Your Typical Radical.”

Catherine has been photographing in Vietnam for over 26 years. Her retrospective: VIETNAM: 25 YEARS DOCUMENTING A CHANGING COUNTRY opened at the Art Vietnam gallery in Hanoi in April 2015 and Catherine was profiled in a PBS documentary about art in Vietnam, which aired May, 2015.

Her work appears in National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, French & German GEO and other international publications.

Catherine's passion for photography carries into her love for teaching. She teaches the National Geographic Weekend Workshops in San Francisco. She also gives private workshops and teaching seminars all over the world, for a myriad of private, corporate and editorial clients, as well as her own Signature Photo Workshops in Umbria in May, and Vietnam in October.

Ed Kashi, Monclair, NJ
Ed KashiEd Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times.

Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. His innovative approach to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at The George Eastman House.

An eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo. Along with numerous awards, including honors from Pictures of the Year International, World Press Foundation, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s editorial assignments and personal projects have generated four books. In 2008, his latest books will be published, both by powerHouse Books; Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and Three.

“Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.” David Griffin, Director of Photography, National Geographic.

Lekgetho Makola, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lekgetho MakolaLekgetho Makola is the CEO of Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria – South Africa, and the former Head of Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. He has been part of a number of diverse visual story telling platforms and curatorial committees that included the Rencontres de Bamako in Mali, New York Times portfolio reviews, CatchLight, Thami Mnyele Arts Awards and chairing the World Press Photo Awards General Jury 2020.

His artistic philosophy is embedded in social justice and advocacy as an International Ford Foundation Fellow on Social Justice. He accumulated extensive strategic experience in arts administration and artistic programming from institutions he worked for in over two decades. These are the Durban Art Museum, Robben Island Museum, including Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. As an MFA Film student of Howard University in Washington DC, he co-founded Kali TV in 2012, an online media organization communicating experiences of Africans in the diaspora.

On his return to South African, Lekgetho founded Kgethi Images for production of moving and still Images with focus predominately on advocacy issues and heritage memories of South Africans. Lekgetho was born in GaSekhukhune – Limpopo and is a founding member of Centres of Learning for Photography in Africa. He is a proponent of diverse and inclusive visual storytelling practice and representation globally. He led the Market Photo Workshop to winning the Principal Prince Claus Award in 2018. Javett Art Centre

Mary Beth Meehan, Providence, RI
Mary Beth MeehanMeehan, the granddaughter of immigrants to Massachusetts, has spent the past twenty-five years embedding herself in communities across the United States, combining writing, photography, and large-scale photographic installations to challenge dominant narratives and jolt people into reconsidering one another. Her large-scale portraiture installation in Newnan, Georgia, was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times on Martin Luther King weekend in 2020, and included an in-depth article on how the project helped to shift perceptions in that small town. Meehan has held residencies at Stanford, Brown, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has received commissions from the RISD Museum and the City of Providence, and has published and exhibited her work widely. Her first book, "Seeing Silicon Valley: Life inside a Fraying America" was published in 2021 by the University of Chicago Press.

Molly Roberts, Washington, DC
Molly RobertsMolly Roberts is an independent visual storyteller, photography editor, curator and photography teacher living in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Roberts was recently a Senior Photography Editor at National Geographic Magazine where she produced award winning stories on subjects featuring Archeology, History and World Culture. She led the photography department at Smithsonian Magazine for 16 years bringing recognition to the magazine as a National Press Photographers association award winning visuals team for multiple years. She recently spent an academic year at Ohio University as a Knight Fellow in the visual communications program studying, film, video, bias in the media and the history of intentional communities in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

Committed to the power of visual storytelling to inform and engage communities about important issues in the USA and elsewhere, Roberts created the non-profit HumanEYES USA, which helps to bring American issues into sharper focus through photography, video and art. HumanEyes uses artistic and innovative approaches to inspire informed discussion, encourage civic engagement and create solutions for pressing American issues.

Roberts also continues to lead as an advisor and board member to many photographic organizations; including Social Documentary Network, Women Photojournalists of Washington, Ripple Effect and ArtWorks Project.

She has been an invited reviewer, speaker, panelist and judge for various professional organizations and has been involved in educational photo reviews and panels.

Joseph Rodriguez, Brooklyn, NY
Joseph RodriquezJoseph Rodriguez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He began studying photography at the School of Visual Arts and went on to receive an Associate of Applied Science at New York City Technical College. In 1985 he graduated with a Photojournalism and Documentary Diploma from the International Center of Photography in New York. He went on to work for Black Star photo agency, and print and online news organizations such as National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Esquire, Stern, BBC News and New America Media. He has received awards and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists' Fellowship, USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism, the Open Society Institute Justice Media Fellowship and Katrina Media Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, the Alicia Patterson Fellowship Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Konstnarsnamden Stipendium. He has been awarded Pictures of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri. He is the author of Spanish Harlem, part of the “American Scene” series, by the National Museum of American Art/ D.A.P., as well as East Side Stories: Gang Life in East Los Angeles, Juvenile, Flesh Life Sex in Mexico City, Still Here: Stories After Katrina, Spanish Harlem El Barrio in the 80s, Taxi Journey Through My Windows 1977-1987. Recent exhibitions include Aperture Gallery, NY; Galerie Bene Taschen, Cologne, Germany; Reva and David Logan Gallery for Documentary Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley; Bronx Documentary Center; Gulf + Western Gallery, NY; Hardhitta Gallery, Cologne, Germany; Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, University of La Verne, California; and many others. He has taught at The International Center of Photography and New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York. 

Jamel Shabazz, New York
Jamel Shabbaz
Jamel Shabazz is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City during the 1980s. He has authored 10 monographs, and contributed to over three dozen other photography-related books. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and his work is housed within the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Fashion Institute of Technology, The Gordon Parks Foundation and the Getty Museum. Over the years, Shabazz has instructed young students at the Studio Museum in Harlem’s “Expanding the Walls” project, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture “Teen Curators” program, and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. He is also the 2018 recipient of the Gordon Parks award for his commitment to documentary photography. Shabazz is a member of the photo collective Kamoinge. As an artist his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture.  Photo of Jamel Shabazz by Michael McCoy.

Jeffrey D. Smith, New York
Jeffrey D. SmithJeffrey D. Smith was born in 1959 in New York City, USA. Freelancing as a photographer while a student, he received a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and a M.S. in Magazine Reporting and Writing from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After serving as a picture editor at Woodfin Camp and Associates in New York City syndicating the work of Newsweek staff photographers, he joined Contact Press Images in 1986 as director of sales, becoming its executive director a few years later. He has directed the photographic coverage operations of the agency for more than two decades. He routinely negotiates complex editorial and commercial agreements and maintains a strong background in intellectual property and copyright law. Jeffrey has served on photographic juries at the ICP and Overseas Press Club of America. In addition to serving as an expert witness at trial in the valuation of archives, he has written on electronic rights for the Columbia-VLA Journal of Law & The Arts. He lives in New York City with his wife, Sandra and children, Leanna and Ethan.

Nichole Sobecki, Nairobi, Kenya
Nichole SobeckiNichole Sobecki is a photographer and filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. She aims to create photographs and films that demand consideration for the lives of those represented – their joys, challenges, and ultimately their humanity. Nichole graduated from Tufts University with a degree in political science. She began her career in Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria, focusing on regional issues related to identity, conflict, and human rights. From 2012-2015 Nichole led Agence France-Presse’s East Africa video bureau before immersing herself in documentary photography. 

The primary focus of Nichole’s work is on humanity’s fraught, intimate, and ultimately unbreakable connection to the natural world. As climate change advances, sustained photography must illuminate the complex and multifaceted problems underway, evoke the power and beauty of the world we share, and remind us all of our collective responsibility to fix what we have broken.

In 2022 Nichole was honored with an ASME Award for Cheetahs for Sale which goes inside the trafficking network helping to drain Africa of its cheetah cubs--and the efforts by Somalilanders to stop the illegal trade. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (LOBA) for Where Our Land Was. In 2018 she was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights prize in new media for her images documenting Europe's response to the African migration crisis. Her work has also been recognized by Pictures of the Year, the One World Media Awards, the Alexandra Boulat Award for Photojournalism, The Magenta Foundation, and The Jacob Burns Film Center, among others.

Jamey Stillings, Santa Fe, NM
Jamey StillingsJamey Stillings' career spans documentary, fine art and commercial projects. He holds a BA in Art from Willamette University, an MFA in Photography from RIT, and has a diverse range of international commission clients. Stillings' work is in the collections of the Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Nevada Museum of Art.

The focus of Stillings’ work for the past several years has been on renewable energy development. Beginning in 2010, with a flight over the future site of Ivanpah Solar in the Mojave Desert of California, the finished project, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar, is now a book and traveling exhibition.  

The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar was the starting point for CHANGING PERSPECTIVES, Stillings’ multi-year aerial and ground-based photography project documenting important renewable energy development around the world.  CHANGING PERSPECTIVES is sponsored by Blue Earth, a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports documentary projects that raise awareness of cultural, environmental and social issues.

Stillings' latest book, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar, was published by Steidl in 2015. The Bridge at Hoover Dam, was published by Nazraeli Press in 2011. Jamey Stillings is represented by photo-eye Gallery and Etherton Gallery.

Steve Walker, New York
Steven WalkerSteve Walker is a consultant and educator with a unique blend of experience and skills in education, non-profit management, political advocacy, and government service. As a consultant, Walker focuses on helping non-profits become more effective and efficient in achieving their goals and on helping school districts and educators better prepare their students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. A former US diplomat who resigned from the State Department in 1993 to protest Clinton Administration policies toward Bosnia, from 1993-8 Walker helped lead a successful campaign to raise awareness of the genocide in Bosnia and coordinate Congressional, grassroots, and other efforts to stop the genocide. He served as Director of the American Committee to Save Bosnia, the Action Council for Peace in the Balkans, and the Balkan Institute and, for over a decade, on the Board of Directors of the Center for Balkan Development. He also teaches history, economics, and foreign policy in New York. He has appeared on numerous national and international television and radio programs, including: Crossfire, Larry King Live, Nightline, The NewsHour, and CBS This Morning. He has published in numerous publications, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

Frank Ward, Williamsburg, MA
Frank WardFrank Ward is a professor of art at Holyoke Community College. In 2012, he gave workshops in Central Asia as a Cultural Envoy for the US Department of State. In 2011, he was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for his photography in the Former Soviet Union. Also in 2011, his pictures were featured in Lost in Siberia, a book of essays by Vivian Leskes.

Ward has made many trips to the former Yugoslavia under the auspices of the Friends of Bosnia, and the Center for Balkan Development. The Polaroid Foundation and ViewCamera Magazine have awarded his work in Tibet and the Rotary Foundation has funded his photography in India. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts/ New England Foundation for the Arts grant for work with the Puerto Rican community in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Ward is in the collections of several museums, exhibits internationally and holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Bard College.

Frank Ward is represented by Photo Eye Gallery in Santa Fe, NM and he blogs at

Amy Yenkin, New York, NY
Amy YenkinAmy Yenkin is an independent producer and editor. She is a recognized expert in the field of social issue documentary photography, with an emphasis on the use of arts for social change, philanthropy, non-profit management, and strategic planning.

Amy is a former director at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), based in New York City. She joined OSF in 1994 as the deputy director of scholarships, and later held the positions of associate director of the Open Media Research Institute in Prague, associate director of US Programs, director of the Moving Walls exhibition, and director of the Documentary Photography Project (DPP), a program she founded and launched in 2004. During her tenure at OSF until she left in 2016, DPP exhibited and funded more than 300 photographers documenting human rights and social issues globally.

Prior to joining OSF, Amy worked in Washington DC as the director of government relations for NAFSA: Association of International Educators, where she represented US colleges and universities in lobbying Congress and government agencies on immigration policies affecting foreign students, and the hiring of foreign faculty and researchers.

Amy is also a member of the Activist Council of Planned Parenthood of New York City, a trustee at the Jewish Education Project, and an advisor to documentary photography funders and organizations. She is a recent past trustee and Vice Chair of the Rodeph Sholom School of New York City and previously served on the board of Media Impact Funders.