I photograph in other parts of the world, but there are issues that need
to come to light in my own backyard of Chicago. My current project, Too Young to Die,
examines youth violence in the U.S. and Central America and documents
both the lives of young victims of violence as well as the teenage
perpetrators of these crimes.
Carlos Javier Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and raised in Chicago. He’s currently working on the documentary Too Young To Die, which he started five years ago as a comprehensive examination of youth violence in the U.S. and Central America. As a teenager, his love of photography led him to work at a traveling carnival to save money for photography equipment and college tuition. Later, Carlos Javier attended Columbia College Chicago where he studied photojournalism. Following college, he was a staff photographer for Chicago In The Year 2000 (CITY 2000), a yearlong project documenting the city and its inhabitants. He was named the 2008 Illinois Press Photographer Association Photographer of the Year and has also won the Peter Lisagor Award for Photojournalism. In 2010, he was selected to be part of Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), a nonprofit collective of acclaimed photographers and writers that cover under-reported aspects of America’s most urgent issues and distribute the work through innovative online platforms. His work has appeared in Ebony Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, and other publications.