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THE SHOOTER: Zoraida Diaz

Oct 28, 2015

Zoraida Díaz is a Colombian-born photographer who covered Latin America for the Reuters News Pictures Agency in the last decades of the 20th Century. Based out of Bogotá, Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C., she photographed myriad events key to Latin America’s recent history including the Pablo Escobar years during the Colombian Drug Wars (1987-1994); a Hugo Chavez-led coup d’état in Venezuela (1992); the Panama Invasion (1989); the seven-month hostage siege in Lima (1996-1997), and Pope John Paul II’s groundbreaking visit to Cuba (1998). Her photographs have made the front pages of newspapers and magazines all over the world, including The New York Times, Libération, The Guardian, The Age, Clarín, El País, El Gráfico, Time, and Newsweek.

She held the post of Latin America Pictures Editor for Reuters, and co-founded an English-language newspaper in Costa Rica. In recent years, she has exhibited her personal documentary work in art fairs and solo exhibitions in the United States, Italy, Colombia, Costa Rica, Perú, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

Fourth World; Current Photography from Colombia, at the SF Camerawork gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District is the most recent curated exhibition that includes Diaz’s past and current work. Santiago Rueda, Curator for the SF Camerawork’s exhibition wrote about the work exhibited by Ms. Diaz:

“The psychological and social urgency manifested thoroughly throughout Colombia’s history, has been witnessed and registered by multiple generations of photographers who have produced the most powerful tools in the register of the country’s historical memory.

In the 1980s, In a medium traditionally dominated by men, the first generation of women dedicated to photojournalism surfaced in Colombia. One of them, Zoraida Díaz, took the country’s pulse with such fearless and seasoned aplomb, that it is hard to believe the work was done by one person.

Díaz’s skilled eye and her capacity for synthesis in the capture of certain social constructs through the portraits of characters chosen with inspired accuracy must be understood in association with her literary training, her understanding of the Latin American reality—learned as a hopeful migrant returning from another part of America, and influenced by the local photographers, formed in a country beset by violence.

Díaz’s lens registers in a few short years the protagonists of the Colombian armed conflict. In 1988 she is sent to cover the FARC during the then peace negotiations in a camp in La Uribe where she takes some notable portraits of the day-to-day in the life of the guerrillas. The harshness of countenances and weapons shown alongside vestiges of kinship, and the love and ideals of revolutionary fervor, are summarily personified in images like these…”

Zoraida can be found at, Twitter: @ZoraidaDiazPix, Instagram: zoraidadiazpix

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