Juan Orrantia's practice is based on ideas of unsettling and dislocation. He makes images grounded in the photograph's inherent disposition to ambiguity, uncertainty and vulnerability, understanding these as strategies to engage histories, narratives and experiences of looking and being seen. Born and raised in Colombia, and having spent much of his adult life in South Africa, his work follows autobiographical threads through conditions of dislocation, postcoloniality and representation. 

He has published "Like Stains of Red Dirt" (Dalpine 2020--winner of the Fiebre Dummy Award), "A Machete Pelao" (Cdf 2022), winner of the Fotolibro Latinoamericano Centro de Fotografia de Montevideo, and “O”, a companion to A Machete--as part of AñZ-Fotografia Expandida en Latinoamérica (Raya editorial, 2024).  He also makes artist books, some of which are held in collections like the Smithsonian Museum of African Art Library, Biblioteca de Arte Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, The Ginsberg Center for the Book, Wits Museum of Art, and the Tierney Foundation. Reviews of his work appear in Aperture, Nearest Truth, BJP, Africa is a Country, among others. Juan is Assistant professor of Fine Art Photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, having previously taught at Wits University Fine Arts (Johannesburg), Bard Center for Human Rights and the Arts, the ICP among others. He holds an MFA in Photography from Hartford Art School and a PhD from Yale University, and spends his time between Rochester (NY), South Africa and Colombia.


Juan Orrantia / Photographer

Juan Orrantia, Photographer
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