Who We Are

kate-way.jpg

Kate Way, Program Director

Kate Way is a photographer, filmmaker, and veteran educator whose work is largely concerned with public policy, education, and issues of social and economic justice. She holds a Ed.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture and a M.F.A. in Photography, and has taught and researched in high schools and universities for the past twenty-five years. Her specific areas of expertise include critical media literacy and the politics of K-12 public education. Kate has worked with students and prospective teachers in the United States and abroad on the development of literacy skills across mediums, and on using photography, video, and audio production to promote social change. Her own photography has been exhibited in both solo and group shows, is included in a number of private collections, and has been published in the New York Times and Mother Jones magazine. She co-directed and co-produced the 2018 documentary film G is for Gun, which was nationally broadcast on the PBS WORLD Channel. She currently lectures part-time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is in post-production on a second documentary film.

ruga.jpg

Glenn Ruga, Executive Director, Social Documentary Network

Glenn Ruga is a photographer, graphic designer and curator. He founded the Social Documentary Network (SDN) in 2008 as a web platform for a global community of documentary photographers to present their work online. As a photographer, he has created traveling and online documentary exhibits on the struggle for a multicultural future in Bosnia, the war and aftermath in Kosovo, and on an immigrant community in Holyoke, Mass.  In 2015, Ruga launched ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary, a print and digital magazine presenting the best stories from the Social Documentary Network. Glenn has a B.A. in Social Theory from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and a MFA in Graphic and Advertising Design from Syracuse University. 

Paris-Brantley.png

Paris Brantley, Community Liaison Manager

Paris Brantley is a graduate of the Bard Microcollege Liberal Arts degree program and a mother of three young daughters who enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and learning something new each day. She is an autodidact who loves photography, filmmaking and encouraging those around her to view life as an opportunity to paint with light and experience the world through a lens.

Photographer/Instructors

erin-clark.png

Erin Clark

Erin Clark is a photojournalist currently working for The Boston Globe. She was honored as a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Feature Photography and has been named in numerous contests regionally and nationwide, including The News Leaders Association Visual Journalism Award and Boston Press Photographers Association 'Best in Show'. In 2018, she completed her MA at Ohio University, graduating with the honor of Ohio College Photographer of the Year. Clark has taught secondary students in various formats throughout the past 15 years in the form of workshops, lectures and summer camps and as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2013, she provided financial coaching and education. Originally from Central Pennsylvania, Clark has spent the past three years living in Boston with her family of various plants and her cat, Oliver.

brian-frank-2.jpg

Brian Frank

A native of San Francisco, Brian Frank has worked on social documentary projects across the Americas focusing on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment. In 2017, Frank was awarded a fellowship by the Catchlight Foundation to continue his work documenting mass incarceration's effects on minority communities. This two-year project, Downstream: Death of the Colorado, is held in the permanent collection of the United States Library of Congress and was recognized by POYi with the Global Vision Award. His project on the drug war and culture of violence in Mexico, La Guerra Mexicana, was awarded the Domestic News Picture Story of the year by the NPPA. After completing the Journalism program at San Francisco State University, Frank worked primarily for The Wall Street Journal from 2008-2014 and currently focuses on long-term documentary magazine features in California, the American Southwest, and Mexico. Frank’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, GQ, Esquire, Fortune, Mother Jones, Newsweek, TIME, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Politico, The New York Times, U.S.News & World Report, The San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.

Jason.jpg

Jason Kotoch

Jason Kotoch is an artist, journalist and filmmaker living and working in Western Massachusetts. He holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jason began his journalism career at Democracy Now! in 2013 and is currently working as a freelance videographer.

rec.jpg

Carlos REC McBride

Carlos REC McBride is a Doctoral candidate in the Language, Literacy and Culture program through the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Carlos REC has been an active educator, media maker and community organizer for close to two decades.  He has taught throughout western Massachusetts for many years both on the college level and high school level and has traveled extensively throughout the country giving lectures and running workshops related to his research interest.

     His research interests include, Hip Hop, Social Science, Critical Pedagogy, Social Justice in Education, Multimodal approaches to alternative schooling using mixed media & art, Media Justice, New Literacy Studies, Anticolonial Education, the Prison Industrial Complex, and Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Studies and Style Writing (Graffiti).  Carlos REC has also been a DJ and for close to 20 years and is an avid vinyl collector. 

sopie-park.png

Sophie Park

Sophie Park is a Korean American documentary photographer based in Cambridge, MA. As a photographer and scholar, her perspectives are shaped by her semi-nomadic upbringing in Missouri, New Jersey, and Cambodia. She is especially interested in stories around diaspora, immigration, and human rights. Sophie received her B.A. in international relations from Boston University. In her time at BU, she worked as a staff photographer for BU Today, associate photo editor for the Daily Free Press, and assisted teaching visual journalism courses. Sophie has also worked as a photo intern for the Harvard Gazette and photography teaching assistant at Harvard Extension School. In August of 2021, she completed a summer photography fellowship with the Texas Tribune and is currently freelancing full time.

darren-port.png

Darren Port

Darren Port spent over a decade in New York City creating models, prototypes, and TV commercials for the toy industry (REMCO Toys, Toy Biz); awards (MTV); cosmetic displays and packaging (NARS, DKNY).  He is the former Green Building Administrator for the State of New Jersey (2000-2014). Today Darren is a leading professional on energy efficiency policy and zero energy buildings. Darren's photography primarily consists of black and white street and fine art photography. He is currently working on a long-term documentary project on urban and rural energy burden. Darren has taught photography to middle and high school students and is a former teaching artist with Philly Photo Day, a city-wide photo program that teaches students photography and features their community photographs. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

velez.jpg

Jacqueline Velez

Jacqueline has over ten years of advocacy and organizing experience. She served as the Project Assistant for the Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York for five years then later served as their first Communications and Social Media Associate for two years. She also worked as the Production Assistant for the late Eddie Ellis at WBAI Pacifica Radio on “The Criminal Justice and Prison Report” show for two years in NY. When she relocated to Massachusetts, she became Holyoke’s Lead Organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Education Fund for three years. She then took the position of Regional Organizing Director for Senator Ed Markey’s Re-election Campaign in 2018. She is currently the Racial Justice Organizer for Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, taking on several environmental and climate justice campaigns, police accountability, and incarceration issues. Jacqueline has been an avid photographer since she was a teenager, and recently completed two documentary photography projects in Massachusetts — one on unhoused people in the Pioneer Valley, and the other on the impact of gambling on the Latinx community. She obtained an Arts Associate Degree from Bard Holyoke Micro-college in May 2020. She lives in Springfield, MA with her two children.

gina-Washington.jpg

Gina Washington

Gina Washington was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated with an MFA in Photography from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She considers herself a Child of the Universe and has traveled to many places collecting images and connecting artists. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has won awards for portraiture as she creates art by "any means necessary."  As a teacher, she aspires to empower youth and document her generation through photography. Through art, her goal is to bring clarity and solutions to the chaos in the world. She will make art accessible to all people, especially the disenfranchised and underrepresented in the global community. Photo of Gina Washington by Photo by Halim Ina.

cindy-weisbart.png

Cindy Weisbart

Cindy Weisbart is a social documentary photographer and 19-year urban public high school history teacher based in Somerville, MA. Cindy composes moments of interdependence and empathy in the photographic frame, through the interplay of gesture and light, to evoke contexts unseen.  She is inspired by the collaboration and critique of The Photo League, the Kamoinge Collective and the Bronx Documentary Center.  Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows around Boston and in New York since 2013.  She is a founding member of the Fern Collective. On sabbatical in 2019, Cindy studied teen photography programs in New York City to incorporate original student work and abolitionist teaching into the study of history.  She now offers a project-based elective, “Social Documentary Photography, History and Civic Agency.”

Visual
Literacy

Project