2014 Evan Ortiz

Evan_Ortiz-300Evan Ortiz, Rochester Institute of Technology, is the winner of the Reid Blackburn Scholarship.

“During my sophomore year, I was president of a special interest housing floor in the R.I.T. dorms called Photo House. The floor was created to foster and cultivate a community with an interest in photography. As president, it was my job to manage the executive board, assign the delegates various tasks and maintain floor image and morale. We raised over $10,000 in a fundraiser auction sponsored by the School of Photographic and Sciences and donated half of the proceeds to Geneses Center for the Arts while the other half was retained for floor use.

In 2013 I was selected to attend the NPPA Northern Short Course as a volunteer. Being a volunteer was an explosion of inspiration and energy for me because I was able to see so much passion from the speakers and attendees.

Last year, I was awarded the R.I.T. Owen Butler Photography Scholarship which was based on my portfolio containing the first story I produced about a man living with HIV for over 30 years.

This year marks my 2nd year being assistant studio manager at R.I.T. Production Services/ Photography. The job has been intensive training in the professional and production side of photography. Through this job I developed skills in digital asset management, portrait lighting and shooting, event photography, art reproduction, retouching, and working with clients.

I have also been running open lab hours in our PJ Center in order to provide mentorship for other photojournalism students who come in for editing, story, or professional advice. I use the skills I learned as Photo House President to help build our PJ community.

This school year has been a good one, too. I will return as a volunteer for the Northern Short Course. I received the R.I.T. Paul and Louise Miller Scholarship, chosen by the Photojournalism faculty and designed to benefit students in need, based on their performance and quality of their photographic work. And finally, I was selected to attend the New York Times Student Journalism Institute in May.”

Career Goals

“My career goals following graduation include interning at a publication or organization that can cultivate my passion for shooting. But with the uncertainty of the photography business I am also open to other areas connected to shooting, such as editing, assisting, project research and development. Next year I plan to re-apply for The Magnum Foundation fellowship which could provide important networking and funding for my documentary project based on my family. I am interested in freelance work as well; I plan to use the network I have been slowly building to help create a freelance business. The rigorous training I am getting in school is not only in photojournalism but editorial and advertising work as well. This will allow me to adapt to a large range of potential career opportunities. Ultimately, I would like to be able to be a part of an organization where visual storytelling and community outreach intersect. Non-profit organizations such as The Magnum Foundation appeal to me the most.”

All images in this portfolio are copyright Evan Ortiz and are used here by permission. No picture may be used elsewhere without his permission.





Single pictures not part of a story.


hannah_thumbnail_01Because Hannah Means Graceful
I photographed all the stills for the video, conducted the interview with the subject, and edited all the footage together.