Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Paris, France, 2009
December 23, 1968 |
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) is a stateside Puerto Rican photographer. He 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.
Life and work
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, had a profound effect on Rivera-Ortiz. 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.
After attending East High School (Rochester, New York) Rivera-Ortiz worked as a journalist. In 1995 he 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.
Traveling widely, his photography focuses on humanitarian issues often ignored by mainstream media. His work is included in museum and corporate collections, including George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 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. 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.
The work of Manuel Rivera-Ortiz demonstrates that social documentary as activism still continues to exist in the modern world.
Publications with contributions by Rivera-Ortiz
- Viajeros: North American Artist / Photographers’ Images of Cuba. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Art Galleries, 2005. Catalog of an exhibition held at the Dubois Gallery, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 2 November 2005 - 8 January 2006. "This exhibition consists of 59 artists featured in a multimedia project of over 100 images. It presents photographic essays, videos and single/dual images of Cuba..."
- Voices in First Person. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Edited by Lori Marie Carlson. 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.
- A New Documentary. The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9896053-0-4.
- India - A Celebration of Life, Heidelberg, Germany: Kehrer, 2015. ISBN 978-3-86828-609-0.
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
- 2013 Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France
- 2013 Ikono Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
- 2015 Paris Photo, Paris
The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary 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.
- 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.
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO.
- The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
- "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". Prix Pictet. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- 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.
- Pasadena City College (Visual Arts & Media Studies)
- 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" (PDF). 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.
- Columbia Journalism School
- Garner, Jack (2016-02-18). "Manuel Rivera-Ortiz brings beauty to poor in India". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Malo, Alejandro. "Documentary Art". ZoneZero. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Puri, Nikita (2015-11-12). "A photographer shares his frames from the fringes". Business Standard. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- GEH (2006), George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, Annual Report 2006, p. 9 (Rivera-Ortiz work listed as photographic accession in 2006)
- ConXion Magazine, interview February 2007, pg. 10-11
- The collection in the museum of fine arts Berne
- Nelson-Atkins Museum Collection Database
- "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" Check
|url=value (help). 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
- Townsend, Rob (2016-01-27). "Research point: Forgotten communities". Gesture & Meaning. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Korzun, Kelly (2015-11-24). "Book Review: India A Celebration of Life by Manuel Rivera-Ortiz". Musée Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
- Estevez, Marjua (2015-08-19). "WorldPhotographyDay: 5 Latin Photographers With Unique World Views". Vibe. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
- Simon & Schuster description
- Kehrer Verlag
- 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.
- Voies off
- Le Journal de la Photographie
- Paris Photo 2015
- "Argentine Photographer Gustavo Jononovich Awarded Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Grant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- The New York Times
- "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.
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