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Documenting photography

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  January 24, 2009 07:55 PM

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With three major works of documentary photographs to his credit, Glenn Ruga of Concord has long been aware of the need for a virtual repository of similar exhibits that explore the human condition. His new website, socialdocumentary.net, provides a forum for photographers to post their work and viewers to learn about social issues worldwide.

Ruga, who is also a graphic and Web designer, has chronicled a Puerto Rican community in Holyoke, the struggle for a multicultural future in Bosnia, and the war and aftermath in Kosovo.

His website, which contains 115 online photography exhibits, features subjects as varied as forgiveness in war-torn Rwanda; religion in India and Tibet; racism in the United Kingdom; the effects of logging and industrialization on indigenous people and their reindeer herds in Finland; and ordinary Americans in Bennington, Vt.

In the long run, Ruga hopes socialdocumentary.net becomes a valued resource for viewers ranging from schoolchildren to policy makers - and inspiration for them to learn more about the world and change it.

"Words do a very good job at explaining issues, but images help us connect better with individuals," he said. "These photographs show the similarities of the human condition around the world."

CINDY CANTRELL, Globe NorthWest

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