Photography that makes a difference.™
Too Young to Die
Carlos Javier Ortiz
Gun violence is an epidemic that not only plagues lower-income, urban neighborhoods, but also affects youth from all walks of life. "Too Young To Die" looks at the intended and unintended victims of gun violence in the United States and Guatemala.
I have worked on this project for two years, last year documenting the families of two young Chicago girls that were the unintended victims of gun violence. Recently I began to explore the relationship between Guatemala and the United States, a relationship that has been shaped by the Guatemalan civil war that displaced thousands of families. Many adolescent refugees of the war, many of whom relocated to the United States, eventually became involved in street gangs and violence. While in the United States, Guatemalan youth encountered new forms of bloodshed. Eventually, as these adolescents were convicted of gang related crimes in this country, they were deported to Guatemala where they imported a new culture of violence. My work involving these two countries presents an unusual perspective of youth and families in this struggle. By illuminating the images of youth who face these problems on a daily basis, I hope to one day bring them out of the shadows of death.
Carlos Javier Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago, IL. Ortiz developed a love for photography at an early age and attended Columbia College in Chicago, where he studied photojournalism. Following this, Carlos was a staff photographer for the CITY 2000 (Chicago In The Year 2000) project, a yearlong project documenting Chicago and its inhabitants. From 2001 to 2005 he worked for four years as a photojournalist for newspapers in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Ortiz is currently working on an ongoing project on youth violence in Chicago around the United States and Central America. His work appeared in publications such as Newsweek, Times of London, Stern Magazine, Internazionale Magazine, Parade Magazine, Chicago Tribune Magazine, other publications.
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