06 January 2008
Raúl Ortega, photographer from Mexico City was sent on an assignment to the Chiapas region by the newspaper La Jornada in 1994. He was to stay there for just a couple of days to cover the events of the "Zapatistas" uprising against the federal government. But his visit to this region bordering to Guatemala and the soil of the Mayas turned out to be a long-term commitment. Raúl Ortega stayed for almost two years with the people of this region.
I received ten pictures from Raúl yesterday and have been thinking about something to write about them. This is such great photography! To me they belong in a context where you also will find for example Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Graciela Iturbide from Mexico or the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. This is no nonsense photography. This is a photographer’s artistic vision and skills serving as a tool to show us something important about humanity. Raúl shows in these pictures something that we all can recognize, things that are important to people: health care, schools and alimentation, to live in peace. We call it human rights. So often denied poor people.
Raúl Ortega was born in Mexico City in 1963. He has been a professional photographer since age 23, working for La Jornada from 1986-2000 and as editor of its supplement foto from 1998-2000. He has also worked with news agencies Reuters, Associated Press, and Associated Foreign Press.
Ortega has exhibited his photos domestically and internationally in approximately 60 individual and group shows. Ortega's images have been published in books, periodicals, and newspapers and are found in museum and private collections.
If you haven’t read the book "De Fiesta" with around 80 photographs by Raúl Ortega and text by Elena Poniatowska, it is something I highly recommend. The book was published by Turner, Madrid in 2003. /Ulf
(Invited by Ulf Fågelhammar)
All photos ©Raúl Ortega
(please click photos for higher resolution)