Three ZEKE Award recipients will present their winning projects and discuss doing documentary work in different parts of the world.
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ZEKE Award recipients Sofia Aldinio, Nicolò Filippo Rosso, and Ashkan Shabani will present their winning projects.
Aldinio’s project, “Awake in the Desert Land”, documents how climate change is uprooting small, inland, and coastal communities in Baja California, Mexico.
Rosso’s project, “Path Away”, documents thousands fleeing their homes in Central America as they cross through gang-controlled areas, deserts, and jungles–all made even harder by the pandemic– in often failed efforts to start a new life in America.
Shabani’s project, “Love, Fear, and Freedom”, explores the struggle to be gay in Iran, where any type of sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is forbidden and homosexual sex is punishable by death.
Sofia Aldinio is an Argentine American documentary photographer and storyteller based between Joshua Tree, California and Baja California, Mexico. Her career as a documentary photographer started in 2014, and her work is guided by themes such as immigration, climate change, and preserving natural and cultural heritage. Being both an immigrant and a Latino woman has deeply influenced her way of seeing and thinking. Over the past five years her work has focused on amplifying the stories of immigrants and refugees arriving in the Northeast of the United States. Her current project Awake in the Desert Land explores how climate change is threatening traditions and ways of life in small communities living in Baja California, Mexico, that depend directly on natural resources to survive.
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.
Ashkan Shabani is a photographer and visual storyteller originally from Iran who is now based in Turkey. He started his career with a local news agency and then he began working for the Iranian Students News Agency. Since then, he has covered stories such as Iran’s presidential election, the Kermanshah earthquake, and the 2018 and 2019 floods in Iran for ISNA. Over the years, his focus has shifted away from journalistic photography to photography as art. Now Shabani mostly explores social experiences and human rights in Iran. He is currently working as a freelance photographer at Redux Pictures.
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.