The story is dismal and is in stark contrast to the title of the photographer’s first solo. India. A Celebration of Life culminates from the photographer’s many trips to the Indian subcontinent for close to a decade. The 46-year-old believes his need to document “the universality of poverty” stems from his own roots. Growing up poor in Puerto Rico in a family where he was the eldest of 10 children led him to follow the practice of “concerned photography”, which documents people in disadvantaged situations living a life of dignity.
“These pictures constantly remind me of my own past. They lend a voice to those to those still living in poverty,” says the founder of The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film, a non-profit organisation committed to positive social discourse in under-represented communities. With over 120 pictures and stories, Rivera-Ortiz’s book will be available in India too.