Visual Momentum: Photographing Women in a Conflict Zone

Colombian documentary photographer Juanita Escobar focuses on the lives of women who've settled along the Orinoco River.

Straddling the Colombian and Venezuelan border, the river is a symbol of the geographical divide, border conflicts, and numerous adversities that Juanita has found women, in particular, vulnerable too. In her long-term documentary series, she has been traversing the expanse surrounding, immersing herself in the lives of the women who now call it home.

Juanita focuses on two main themes of photographic research; gender and territory, in her exploration of human behavior and the environment. Her working method is rooted in ethnography, for 11 years she has been investigating in the Orinoquia where she’s also currently working on a project that has received the Magnum Foundation fund 2018.

Self-taught photographer, winner of the Colombian National Photography Prize in 2009 with her work People – Land, exhibited in the Santa Clara Museum, Bogotá, and co-author of the book, Silences: A plain of Women published by Número in 2009. Winner of the Crea Digital scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Technologies in Colombia for the undertaking of the e-book, El llano a ras de cielo, 2012. Selected for the World Press Masterclass Latin America 2015 in Mexico. In 2016 won the Portfolio Review Prize from National Geographic Society for her 9-year long body of work, Llano, in San Jose Photo Festival, Uruguay. Since 2016 she is a member of the Colombian photography collective Colectivo+1 known by the creation of the educational project 20fotógrafos.

In 2017 the Peruvian publisher house KWY published her photo-book Llano. Selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2017 in Amsterdam. And in (2018) she won the Magnum Foundation Fund for his project Orinoco, Women’s Journal which is now in progress.

Editor’s Note: Visual Momentum refers to the flow of storytelling and its effect on the viewer’s thinking process. This series highlights creators who are successfully using their tools and minds to create an impact on the world through imagery with the intent of inciting action. With the support of Fujifilm, we share their stories.

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