Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Paris, France, 2009
December 23, 1968 |
Pozo Hondo, Guayama, Puerto Rico
|Notable credit(s)||2004: En Foco New Works Photography Award. 2007: Artist of the Year, Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester|
Manuel Rivera-Ortiz (born December 23, 1968 in Pozo Hondo, Guayama, Puerto Rico) is an American documentary photographer of Puerto Rican descent, the author of several photographic collections and the recipient of a number of awards. Rivera-Ortiz is best known for his social documentary photography of people's living conditions in less developed nations. Rivera-Ortiz lives in Rochester, New York, in New York City and in Zurich.
Early life 
Rivera-Ortiz was born into a poor family in the barrio of Pozo Hondo, outside Guayama on the Caribbean coast of Puerto Rico, the eldest of ten children (including four half-siblings and two stepsisters). He grew up in a corrugated tin shack with dirt floors without running water. His father hand-chopped sugar cane in the fields of Central Machete and Central Aguirre in the declining days of the Puerto Rican sugar industry, and, following the Zafra or sugar-harvesting season, labored as a migrant farm worker in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states.
When Rivera-Ortiz was 11 years old, his parents separated and his father moved with the children to the US mainland in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The separation from his mother, whom he has not seen since, marked Rivera-Ortiz for life. He attended classes at Mt. Holyoke and Springfield colleges as part of the Massachusetts Migrant Education summer program, where he was offered his first courses in photography and film development. The family later moved to Rochester, New York. Even though Spanish is his first language, Rivera-Ortiz graduated from East High School (Rochester, New York) with Regents and AP English and other language classes. At East High School Rivera-Ortiz shared a homeroom with Kim Batten for four years where they became friends. He then worked as a journalist. In 1995, Rivera-Ortiz graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree as an English major from Nazareth College, and in 1998 he received his Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Following his graduation he worked as a journalist for newspapers (e.g. Democrat and Chronicle) and magazines (e.g. Elle), but soon turned to photojournalism and documentary photography. In 2001, he began traveling as a freelance photographer with an emphasis on social issues and has exhibited his work in photographic exhibitions.
Photographic career 
Traveling widely, his photography focuses on humanitarian issues often ignored by mainstream media. His work is represented in the permanent collections of several museums, including George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film and the Museum of Fine Arts Berne. In 2004, he received En Foco's New Works Photography Award, and in 2007 the Artist of the Year Award of the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester. In 2002, he photographed Cuba, comparing the conditions he found there to the Puerto Rico of his youth. He has exhibited photographs showing the dignity of the Dalit ("Untouchable") Caste of India and the Aymara living in the arid altiplano of Bolivia. He has also photographed people from Kenya to Turkey to Thailand. The University of Puerto Rico, in conjunction with the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico), featured Rivera-Ortiz' work in courses on contemporary photographers. His work has been featured in the April 2008 issue of Rangefinder magazine. In 2010, Rivera-Ortiz visited Dharavi and Baiganwadi and took pictures of daily life in these two Mumbai slums. In 2011, he documented the September 11 Commemorations in Shanksville, Pennsylvania for the French photography organization 24h.com. In 2012, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism featured Rivera-Ortiz' work on poverty in the developing world in its collection of 50 Great Stories produced by alumni over the past century.
Rivera-Ortiz' photographs have been accorded a place in galleries and museums alongside fine art photography.
"The irony about my photography is that making these pictures constantly reminds me of my past. But life continues without regard for my own struggles growing up. It is for this reason that today I make these pictures to lend the voice I have been given to those who like me then, are still living in poverty today." —Manuel Rivera-Ortiz
Selected solo exhibitions 
- 2004 Weitman Gallery, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
- 2004 Link Gallery, City Hall, Rochester, NY
- 2006 Seventh & Second Photo Gallery, New York, NY
- 2006/2007 Link Gallery, City Hall, Rochester, NY
- 2007 El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, Buffalo, NY
- 2007 Columbia University Joseph Pulitzer Graduate School of Journalism, New York, NY
- 2007 William Whipple Art Gallery, Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, MN
- 2007 Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
- 2008 Nuyorican Poets Café, New York, NY
- 2008 Swiss Re, Zurich, Switzerland
Selected group exhibitions 
- 2003 Credit Suisse, New York, NY
- 2004 Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
- 2005 Longwood Art Gallery, New York, NY
- 2005 Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY
- 2005 Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA
- 2006 George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
- 2007 The Centre Gallery, Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Miami, FL
- 2007 Art Off The Main, Art Expo, Puck Building, New York, NY
- 2013 Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey
The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film 
|The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film|
|Purpose/focus||Photography & Film|
The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film is a non-profit private operating foundation headquartered in Rochester, New York. Rivera-Ortiz established the Foundation in 2010 to support underrepresented photographers and filmmakers from less developed countries with awards, grants, exhibitions, and educational programs.
- Viajeros: North American Artist / Photographers’ Images of Cuba, Lehigh University Art Galleries, 2005
- "A Journey of Self-Discovery", Rangefinder Magazine. (PDF of the article).
- Lori Marie Carlson, ed., Voices in first person, Simon & Schuster, 2008, ISBN 1-4169-8445-3. Rivera-Ortiz provides the photographs in what the publisher describes as "A collection of monologues featuring the most respected Latino authors writing today, including Sandra Cisneros, Oscar Hijuelos, and Gary Soto.
- Percepciones en Blanco & Negro - Colombia, Ediciones Adéer Lyinad, 2009. ISBN 958-99237-0-4. Rivera-Ortiz provides the introduction to this collection of the work of 103 photographers.
- Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, NY
- George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
- Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA
- William Whipple Art Gallery and Museum, Marshall, MN
See also 
- Austin, Josh. "Famous Documentary Photographers". Photography Arts Cafe. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Gampat, Chris (2012-12-26). "This Week in Photography History: The Birth of Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". The Photographer. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
- Democrat & Chronicle April 3, 2005, pg C1
- Metropolitan Magazine; Arts & Cultural Council, Rochester NY, cover story Spring 2007
- "The next Manuel Rivera-Ortiz?". The Esther Benjamins Trust. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Low, Stuart (2006-12-17). "Poverty's portrait". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. pp. C.3 (cover story, Section C). Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Rivera-Ortiz, Manuel (April 2008). "A Journey of Self-Discovery". Rangefinder, the Magazine for Professional Photographers. p. 126. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Glennie Seychew, Christa (January 2007). "An Interview with Photographer Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". Buffalo Rising. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "Picturing My Life". New York Foundation for the Arts. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- Malo, Alejandro. "Documentary Art". ZoneZero. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "2006 Annual Report". George Eastman House. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- ConXion Magazine, interview February 2007, pg. 10-11
- The collection in the museum of fine arts Berne
- "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". En Foco. Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Nueva Luz Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 2, pgs. 2-9, 2006.
- Arts & Cultural Council "Arts Awards Recipients". Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- ConXion Magazine cover story, August 2004
- "Kodak Presents Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Exhibit of India". Imaging Info. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- ConXion Magazine cover story August 2005, pgs. 10-11
- 24h.com Manuel Rivera-Ortiz
- Columbia Journalism School
- "Quotations from the World of Photography". PhotoQuotes.com. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 30, 2004, p. I.61 (Insider Section)
- En Foco Exhibitions
- "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz images to grace City Hall Link Gallery". City of Rochester. November 20, 2006. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
- Democrat & Chronicle, August 27, 2004, page 24, Section I
- "Hardships shape his images". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Longwood Art Gallery Past Exhibitions And Events". Bronx Council on the Arts. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "VIAJEROS: North American Artist/ Photographers' Images of Cuba". Lehigh University Art Galleries. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
- Miami Herald, April 5, 2007
- "Art Off the Main 2007". Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Press Release November 2010
- "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". Luminous-Lint. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
- Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Press Release February 2011
- Le Journal de la Photographie
- "Signe des temps : La photographie sur la croisette". Photographie.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation announces photography grant call for entries". Myanmar News. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Argentine Photographer Gustavo Jononovich Awarded Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Grant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- Manuel Rivera-Ortiz : "Encourager l'émergence de nouveaux talents photographiques" (Photographie.com)
- "Le photographe argentin Gustavo Jononovich a remporté le prix de la Fondation Manuel-Rivera-Ortiz". Le Mag Location Studio Photo. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- Manuel Rivera-Ortiz-Foundation's founder and president speaks of grant's aims and importance(Photographie.com)
- Schonauer, David (2012-12-17). "Call For Entries: Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Expands Into Doc Film". AI-AP (American Illustration - American Photography). Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- Simon & Schuster description
- Fotografia Colombiana
- "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz", in Lori Marie Carlson, ed., Voices in first Person: Reflections on Latino Identity (New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008; ISBN 1-4169-0635-5); available here at Google Books.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Manuel Rivera-Ortiz|
- Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Official Website (with image galleries)
- The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film Official Website
- Thoughts on Photography with Paul Giguere Interview with Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, July 23, 2009
- Humanitarian Photography. Interview with Manuel Rivera-Ortiz