Sep 202020
 archive : 2020

Conversation with the Winners of the 2020 ZEKE Award

Jason Houston

Jason Houston

ZEKE Award winners Kristen Emack, Jason Houston, and Nicoló Filippo Rosso will present their winning projects and discuss their views on the state of documentary photography today.

Presenters: Kristen Emack Jason Houston Nicolò Filippo Rosso

Location: Online

Presented by:

  • Social Documentary Network (SDN)

Supported by:

  • PhotoWings
  • Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation

Photoville 2020 Talks On-demand recordings are made possible in partnership with PhotoWings with additional support by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.

ZEKE Award winners Kristen EmackJason Houston, and Nicoló Filippo Rosso will present their winning projects and discuss their views on the state of documentary photography today.

Jason’s project, Last Wildest Place, is an investigation into Indigenous communities in one of the most remote, inaccessible, and important areas of the Peruvian Amazon, and their struggle with encroaching deforestation, logging, mining, oil and gas development, cattle grazing, coca cultivation, agricultural expansion, and both legal and illegal road construction projects.

Kristen’s project, Cousins looks at her daughter and three cousins, four Black girls growing up in Massachusetts. “My hope is that when they look back on this work, they will see the beauty of their childhood together, and when they look for everyday representations of themselves in the world, they will find themselves here, in this work we made together, reflected with love.”

Nicoló’s project, Exodus is an investigation of the crisis in Venezuela, and a close look at some of the millions who are fleeing their homeland for Colombia and other neighboring countries, because of the lack of security, access to food, medicine, and essential services, and loss of income due to the political situation.

Presenter Bios

  • Kristen Emack

    Kristen Emack

    Kristen Emack is a photographer and public school educator who lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and holds a degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Kristen is a Mass Cultural Council Photography Fellow. She is a Critical Mass Top 50 Winner, a Michael Reichmann Project Grant recipient, a PDN Emerging 30 nominee, and her images are on Photoville’s The FENCE for the second time. Her interview in VOGUE Italia was published in February 2020, and was recently selected the 2nd place series winner in LensCulture Portraits. Kristen’s work includes two ongoing projects that look at childhood, family and visibility, and a finished series that looks at loss.

  • Jason Houston

    Jason Houston

    Jason Houston was introduced to the Amazon region in 2015, as part of a team from Science Magazine, investigating the possible causes for a dramatic increase in contact events between isolated tribes and remote villagers. He has since returned a dozen times with Upper Amazon Conservancy and other organizations, to try and better understand the tenuous relationship between isolated tribes and settled Indigenous communities, and how loggers, drug traffickers, illegal mining, and new roads are encroaching on protected areas and driving these conflicts.

    Jason has partnered with many organizations including The Nature Conservancy, WWF, UNESCO, USAID, and the Pulitzer Center on projects ranging from wildland firefighting in the American west, and maternal healthcare in Haiti and Nepal, to small-scale fisheries throughout the developing tropics. His work has been published editorially, and exhibited around the world, and he is a Senior Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a Fellow at Wake Forest University’s Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.

  • Nicolò Filippo Rosso

    Nicolò Filippo Rosso

    Nicolò Filippo Rosso is an Italian documentary photographer based in Colombia. Photographing in Latin America is often about witnessing stories of trauma, inequality, and injustices that have shattered the region for generations. Rosso tells stories of abandoned communities, mass migration crises, conflict, and climate change. Since 2018, after numerous editorial assignments documenting Venezuelan migration in Colombia, Rosso decided to work on that historical phenomenon personally. He started spending weeks and months in some of the border areas—walking along the migration routes with those who have no money to reach a major city or the next border by bus. In 2021, expanding an already-existing body of work, he traveled to Central America and Mexico to document the crossing of refugees and migrants into the United States. In addition to his personal and editorial work for magazines, newspapers, and NGOs, he often lectures about photography and journalism at universities in Colombia, Europe, and the United States.


  • Social Documentary Network (SDN)

    Social Documentary Network (SDN)

    The Social Documentary Network (SDN), founded in 2008, is a global community of documentary photographers, editors, curators, NGOs, journalists, and others, who believe in the power of visual storytelling to build understanding and appreciation for the complexities, diversity nuances, wonders, and contradictions that abound in the world today.

    Since our founding, the SDN website has featured more than 4,000 exhibits by nearly 3,000 photographers from all corners of the globe.

    Our flagship publication, ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary, is printed twice a year in print and year-round in digital, and features the most successful projects from the SDN website.

    We also create gallery exhibitions, educational programs, lecture series, award programs, and portfolio reviews.

    Recent stories on SDN and in ZEKE have explored sustainable solutions to the climate crisis, the war in Gaza, migration from Central America to the U.S., the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising seas of Antarctica, life in Iran, asylum in America, teen mothers, and many other global themes.

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