Juan Orrantia was born and raised in Colombia, and lived for over 15 years in South Africa. Moving between continents, as well as academic and artistic settings shaped his understanding and use of photography as a dialogue with experiences of dislocation, postcoloniality and questions of representation. Photographically he uses color, appropriation, and the photobook as ways to interrogate historical narratives and experiences of looking and being seen.
Published photobooks are Like Stains of Red Dirt (Dalpine 2020--winner of the Fiebre Dummy Award), and A Machete Pelao (Cdf 2022), winner of the Fotolibro Latinoamericano Centro de Fotografia de Montevideo; some of these works are held in collections like the Smithsonian Museum of African Art Library, Biblioteca de Arte Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and The Ginsberg Center for the Book, Wits Museum of Art. Reviews of his work appear in Aperture, Nearest Truth, BJP, Africa is a Country, among others. Juan is now 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 now spends his time between Rochester (NY), South Africa and Colombia.