MSH and Announce 2013 Recipients of Photography Fellowship in Africa


MSH partnered with SDN, a documentary image-sharing website, who managed the international call to photographers on behalf of MSH. Glenn Ruga, SDN founder and director, provided professional advisory and judging support required to choose final candidates. MSH thanks Glenn for all of his support and commitment to the project.

MSH and SDN want to truly thank everyone who submitted an application to this Fellowship through the SDN online platform. SDN is excited to be able to feature much of this work on its website and in its email "Spotlights". We hope that the photographers will gain additional recognition of their work as a result of their submissions and involvement with the MSH/SDN Fellowship in Africa.

Winners are listed in alphabetical order by photographer's last name.


[{Photograph by Leslie Alsheimer.} Photograph by Leslie Alsheimer.

Fellowship Submission

A Moment in the Glass: The Secret Life of Uganda's Daughters

It is her light, it is the curl in the corners of her mouth, it is the sparkle in her eyes, and it is her unedited and untainted laughter. She is the child that does not yet understand the meaning of poverty. She is the child that has not yet seen the violence and destruction so prevalent in the world. She is the child that lost her mother to AIDS, disease, war, famine or child birthing complications, yet remains joyous and youthful despite the suffering.

She is the mother who lost her child or husband, but goes on with admirable strength to care for her family. The woman who breaks barriers in hopes of an education, or the woman who walks for miles just to get a simple check up. The light, the strength, the hope and the dignity.

Dignity: The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect. Nobility of character, manner or language. - Anika Amon.

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Leslie ALsheimer headshot

Leslie Alsheimer, from Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an internationally published and award winning photographer and author. Leslie is most known for her deeper perspective documentary essays addressing the human condition world-wide. Her work- spanning editorial, fine art and documentary genres- was most recently awarded by National Geographic with an International Photo Award, by National Geographic Traveler with a Best Travel Pictures Meit Award, with The Art of Documentary Spotlight Award, and by FotoWeek DC with the Professional Journalism Award of Distinction. Her images have appeared in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, numerous publications including Black & White MagazinePDN,National Geographic TravelerNPR: The Picture Show, and featured in Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 50.

Leslie's professional and personal work celebrates the beauty and splendor that can be found in humanity -regardless of circumstance. With images, she creates metaphors that honor the richness of life that accompany the enduring human spirit; celebrating life, play, family, culture and community through the joy, pain and love of everyday living.


[Little Fatimah lives in a small town in Sahara desert, in south Moroccan-Algiers border. Her pet black kite protects Fatimah like a dog.] {Photograph by Rui Pires.}Little Fatimah lives in a small town in Sahara desert, in south Moroccan-Algiers border. Her pet black kite protects Fatimah like a dog.Photograph by Rui Pires.

Fellowship Submission

The Berberes

"The Berberes" is an essay from Rui Pires' long-term project "Lands of Allah", a social documentary about the Berbere tribes in North of Africa that he started in 2009.

Berberes are the indigenous ethnic group of North Africa, west of the Nile Valley to Morocco. Historically they speak the Berber language and local varieties of it. Foreign languages like French and Spanish, inherited from European occupation, are used by some educated Berbers in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in some formal contexts such as higher education or business.

The presence of the Arabic language and dialects is due to the spread of Islam and to the immigration of some Arab tribes to the region centuries ago. A Berber is not necessarily only someone who happens to speak Berber. The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa.

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Rui Pires head shotRui Pires, from Portugal, has a passion for photography that began in 1983 as an amateur photographer. He is considered a photographer with a classical and humanist style, and is dedicated primarily to documentary photography.

In 2006 Rui began a project that aims to document the life in Portuguese rural villages undergoing desertification, the "Rural Moments" project. The project is still running. In 2009 Rui began theLands of Allah project, a documentary about the life of the nomad tribes and Berbers-Touareg people in north of Africa and Sahara desert.

He has many publications in web, magazines and newspapers in many countries. He have also won prizes and awards in exhibitions and photography contests.

With influences of Doisneau, Eisenstaedt, Adams and Salgado, he achieves a humanistic approach to documentary photography and always tries to dignify the people he portrays. Rui shoots primarily in medium and large format width and he controls the entire photographic process, from capture, processing film and printing.

Rui is member of Photographic Society of America and have a degree in Image Analysis and Evaluation by Photographic Society of America and is graduate in Professional Photography by the New York Institute of Photography.


[A farm couple relaxing on a mattress in their hut. They told us a chilling tale of losing a child during the LRA insurgency, and being forced to live in a government camp.] {Photograph by Todd Shapera. }A farm couple relaxing on a mattress in their hut. They told us a chilling tale of losing a child during the LRA insurgency, and being forced to live in a government camp.Photograph by Todd Shapera.

Fellowship Submission

Reconstructing War Weary Northern Uganda

Northern Uganda now enjoys peace after suffering decades of conflict spurred by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Nearly 1.4 million people were impacted by kidnapping, property destruction, and killing. Three years ago, with Kony run into the Congo jungle, refugees from bleak internally displaced person (IDP) camps began returning to their hamlets, and Kony's abducted child soldiers began trickling home.

In March 2012, I documented reconstruction, spurred by public and private foreign investment. My initial focus was USAID's $50 million rural infrastructure project, NUDEIL, that is drilling wells, building gravel roads, and constructing schools. Implemented by Winrock International, NUDEIL collaborates with local governments, and emphasizes using local labor (rather than machinery), to provide impoverished farmers with needed cash.

Separately, Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) is reviving local cotton farming as a regional cash crop for subsistence farmers. GADC founder, South African Bruce Robertson, retooled Gulu's war-damaged ginnery, and supports long-displaced farmers with training and a hungry ginnery. Last year, the third season, GADC purchased cotton from nearly 10,000 small farmers, and provided work to 300 Gulu ginnery employees.

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Todd Shapera head shotTodd Shapera, from Pleasantville, New York, is a sensitive and worldly photographer. Todd's photography and writing have appeared in The Financial Times of LondonThe New York TimesNational Geographic AdventureForbes GlobalFast CompanySaveurRitz Carlton MagazineGastronomicaDoubleTake, publications of the World Bank, and numerous United Nations and global development agencies. Foundation clients have included the Clinton, Ford, Rockefeller, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, Winrock International, and the Ecologic Development Fund.

His published work from remote global locations has featured Sri Lankan Tsunami survivors, Peruvian coffee farmers, Himalayan women, Honduran Moskito Indians, and social conservation programs in Central American rainforests. His adventure travel photography has included hiking in Patagonia, surveying Siberia's Lake Baikal, canoing Yukon rivers, and backcountry skiing in Wyoming, British Columbia, and the French Alps.

In a profile, Professional Photographer magazine wrote: "Todd Shapera is driven by a passion to capture the inner beauty and resilience of individuals just about everywhere on earth. He is linking disparate worlds through photography."


{Photograph by Warren Zelman}Photograph by Warren Zelman

Fellowship Submission

Something to Smile About

In developing countries, when a girl receives an education, she is more likely to stay healthy (and HIV negative), marry when she chooses to, raise a healthy family, and strengthen her community. Naturally, the alternative is grim; illiteracy, married off young, early pregnancy, solitude, and a greater vulnerability to sickness and HIV.

The Sega Secondary School in Morogoro, Tanzania has become an academic sanctuary for over 100 girls who were given the chance to escape the cycle of poverty. Through a motivated non-profit, excellent facilities, and inspirational teachers, the girls are taking advantage of their opportunity to pave a road to a more promising future. As Tanzania heads towards a healthier population and the end of AIDS and HIV, these girls will be the women who lead the country into the future.

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Zelman-web200pxWarren Zelman, from Montreal, Canada, has worked in the advertising, corporate, cultural, and editorial sectors of photography. Born and raised in Montreal, Warren studied Commercial Photography at Dawson College.

Zelman's work has been published in Applied Arts MagazineThe Hour, Mixte MagazineInside Fitness MagazineOxygen Magazine, and Fitness Quebec Magazine. His awards include Applied Arts, First Place, Pro Bono Series, 2012; Hatch Award, Bronze Medal, Advertising, 2012; International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention, People, 2012.

For his submission for the Fellowship application, Warren travelled to the Sega Secondary school to document the school for Forgirlsake and Nurturing Minds in Africa . Both organizations work hard towards creating a happy and healthy world by educating girls. The trip opened his eyes to the power of education and the change it can have on the individual, their family and their community.