Carlos Javier Ortiz
(American, b. 1977 Puerto Rico; resides Chicago IL)
In his series Too Young To Die, Carlos Javier Ortiz photographs youth and families that have been involved in or affected by acts of gun violence. He began the project by focusing on the families of two young girls from Chicago who were the unintended victims of a neighborhood shooting, but soon widened his investigation to include Guatemalan youth who have joined gangs in the United States after being displaced by the Guatemalan War.
Different from the stories of bloodshed that quickly pass through our news media, Too Young To Die considers gun violence from multiple perspectives over the course of many months and years. This approach creates a complex narrative that traces issues beyond their headline appeal. The project sheds light on communities where gun violence is a recurring, multifaceted issue: illuminating both a street culture that glorifies aggressive gang activity and the toll of gun related deaths on families and neighborhoods.
Carlos Javier Ortiz studied photojournalism at Columbia College Chicago. His work has received numerous awards and accolades, including the 2009 Domestic Photography Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.