Emerald Art Center SPRINGFIELD, Oregon- February 4-March 31

Dan Nelken’s solo exhibition of HeadStrong: The Women Of Rural Uganda contains 25 portraits of women that Nelken photographed beginning in 2017. Notably, the images are accompanied by first-person stories of many women as told to Ugandan author Beatrice Lamwaka.

"Another quarry worker draws my eye, Vicky Aciro....Ask yourself, “ What do I love about this image?” then take time to let the image come into you, inform you, change you." "Beauty and Power at the Emerald Art Center" NPR February 14, 2021

“Dan Nelken’s current photo show HeadStrong: The Women Of Rural Uganda wastes little time with pleasantries . . . Nelken takes on portraiture, family dynamics, economic inequity, and global labor issues. And that’s just the start . . . Nelken is a skilled portraitist . . . His subjects may not smile but they express an inner resolve of positive spirit . . .Nelken’s pictures are arresting on their own, but their captions are just as interesting . . . many tell longer stories of work history, family anecdotes, and reflections on life.” "Visions of Work, Oregon" Artswatch, February 12, 2021



Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London

Two portraits from Nelken's portfolio, HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda, were selected for inclusion in the National Portrait Gallery (UK)’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 exhibition. Dan Nelken’s two photographs -- “A. Olga, Age 74, working in the quarry for 28 years”, and “Olga’s Hammer” -- were among 5531 photos submitted by 2169 photographers. The exhibition features 50 images by 37 photographers.

"Dan Nelken . . . utilises the white background approach but in this instance, the method adds a very interesting storytelling method, I’d call it a ‘contextual apparatus’. . . Nelken’s portrait is striking and sobering . . . What I find most interesting in Nelken's work is the historical references he makes with documentary portraiture..." Another-Observer

Photolucida: Critical Mass Top 50

Dan Nelken was selected as a Top 50 photographer in Photolucida's annual juried competition for his portrait series, HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda."

15th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for Women

Juror Elizabeth Avedon awarded Dan Nelken First Prize in the only category in the Julia Margaret Cameron Award that was open to men: “The Feminine Universe.” This was the inaugural year for this category. Portraits from Nelken’s HeadStrong portfolio won highest honors. A May 2021 exhibition is anticipated at FotoNostrum Gallery in Barcelona, Spain.

Africa Photo Awards

Jurors awarded Dan Nelken Honorable Mention for his portrait “Two Couples“ from Nelken's portfolio, County Fair Portraits.



Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards (KLPA), Malaysia

KLPA awarded Dan Nelken First Prize for his series, HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda. The KLPA 2019 theme was “Unyielding Gaze – Portraits in Photojournalism." Nelken received the top award in the professional category in Kuala Lumpur where he gave an artists’ talk at the Ilham Gallery, host of the 2019 Award Winners Exhibition.


I Choose Film: Film Photography Now, Manchester, Vermont

Dan’s color portraits from his series and book, Till The Cows Come Home, were included in this group exhibition of twenty living photographers at the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum. His work featured farm families who participate in agricultural competitions at County Fairs. Nelken’s photo of a fair participant and his prize-winning dairy cow served as the poster for the show, which was curated by Stephen Schaub.



Internationale Fotoage Mannheim/Ludwigshaten-Contemporary American Photography, DE

Curated by Tina Schelhorn, Co-founder, Galerie Lichtblick, Cologne, DE) (catalog)


  • Quarry Workers: Gulu Uganda

    Dan Nelken's photographic portrait series "HeadStrong: The Women of Rural Uganda," is about the women who support themselves, as well as their families, while working in the local quarries.
  • Dan Nelken: HeadStrong -- Women of Rural Uganda; Photography At Oregon and Emerald Arts Center.

    Sponsored by Photography At Oregon, this is Dan Nelken's Artist Talk on March 14, 2021. His collection of work, "HeadStrong -- Women of Rural Uganda", is showing at the Emerald Arts Center in Springfield, Oregon throughout February and March of 2021.