Juan Pablo Gutierrez

Aged 35, Juan Pablo Gutierrez is a Colombian photographer whose work already exudes maturity and wisdom, with a balanced combination of spontaneity, respect and authenticity.

Having lived on several continents, Gutierrez has focused on society’s black sheep – people rejected by society or seen as a problem by the authorities – and manages to give them a face and restore their often battered personal dignity.

Vagabonds, indigenous people, gypsies, paupers, travellers – sleeping on cardboard, on mats, under bridges or in slums – Juan Pablo engages with these people as equals, not as objects of pity. His honest, humane and positivist approach allows a dialogue, and the images he retains from these exchanges exceed the power of the spoken word and reveal the essence of each person.

My pictures are not instant images; they result from a process that is much longer than the opening of a lens shutter. The images are the fruit of long periods of sharing, laughing, understanding and even crying together. I am really seeking to create multiple portraits that reflect the human condition based on solid and sincere political and philosophical principles… it’s a way for humanity to fight back.

Humble and modest in his interaction with the world’s less fortunate, he is reluctant to talk about his own successes, but we did manage to squeeze a few anecdotes out of him concerning his time at the prestigious Magnum Photos agency and he is naturally proud to have received the Paris Match Photojournalism prize twice (in 2008 and 2010) and the Grand Prix for Photography from the Organization of American States OAS.

Juan Pablo Gutierrez’s talent and philosophical ideas are sources of inspiration and are qualities that have earned him recognition from the world’s most important human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Survival, Rights and Democracy and UNICEF. Gutierrez regularly provides photojournalistic content for these entities.