Juan Orrantia

See Ports (work in progress)

See Ports begins after the thrill and romance of ocean travel halts at the pier, when the sounds of waves are shunned by the noises of drills, engines and cranks. It is an evocation of lives caught in a strip of land fenced between the sea and the city, defined by circulation and the frictions of trade. Its object is a world we cannot see in its entirety, imagined through repetitive patterns of cranes and containers, constricted by increasing privatization and forms of security. Set in working ports — some even tainted by the melancholy of decline — this series relies on the ambiguity of place as an allegorical comment on the configurations of such spaces of transience.


Juan Orrantia (B. Bogotá, Colombia. 1975) is a photographer and anthropologist. Conceptually his work is based on a notion of photography that relies on the poetic and the evocative as forms of narration of social realities. Drawing on contemporary ethnographic practice and cultural theory, his work explores the emotive qualities of the mundane as ways by which to unsettle representations, but still communicate ordinary social conditions that many ignore. He has exhibited in Colombia, South Africa and the UK, on topics such as the aftermath of terror, the residues of war and colonialism (www.issuu.com/juanorrantia/docs/residuesmozambique) as well as migration. He was recently awarded the Tierney Foundation Fellowship for photography.