Castro, Luz Elena

Luz Elena Castro, Sausalito California, USA

After receiving a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, MedellÌn, Colombia, Luz Elena Castro began her career as a staff photographer for El Mundo Newspaper in 1979. This led to a position as a photojournalism instructor for the Mass Media Career Department of Bolivariana University in 1985, and freelance assignments for many different magazines and newspapers.

In 1986 she won a scholarship from Navarra University in Spain.  She worked as a photojournalist for the EFE News Agency, Madrid, Spain, provided a weekly commentary for the BBC while in London, and was the European correspondent for El Mundo Newspaper, Medellín. In 1988, she was department director, lead photographer, and graphic editor for El Tiempo Newspaper, Bogotá.

Personal photographer for CÈsar Gaviria during his 1989-90 presidential campaign, she served the next four years as director of the photography department and head photographer for the Gaviria Presidency. Following a year as graphic editor of Cromos Magazine, she resumed her work as a freelance photojournalist.

Throughout her career she has shown her photos in the most prestigious Galleries and Museums in Colombia. In 1994 she represented Colombia in the Fifth Biennial of Art in Havana, Cuba, was chosen to participate in an exhibition at the Ludwing Forum Museum, Aachen, Germany, and served as a judge in several Salons of Photography in Colombia. Living and working in California since 1996, she documents  life through people, always looking to catch the human drama of features, character, and environment.

In January of 2002, she began to document the homeless Sonoma County seniors. Her exhibit that poignantly captured the new face of homelessness in an economically rich area opened in December 6, 2002, at the Cultural Arts Council?s Gallery in Santa Rosa, CA.

In her “Lejos del Hogar” project, she gave cameras to members of West Marin’s Latino community, and taught them how to take photos used in weekly English lessons. An exhibition of Luz Elena’s documentary work opened March 28, 2004 at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes, CA. Serving as a bridge between the Latino and American Communities; she developed a second project in 2005 called “Who Opens the Doors of the Town in the Morning.” The students learned how to be photojournalists, and exhibited their work at Gallery Route One. The impact of their photographs made a profound impression, and demonstrated the talent and creativity of eight Mexican immigrants that live and work in West Marin, CA. The third phase of this Photography/Literacy class was called “Bridge Builders.” It is a photo essay depicting members of the Point Reyes Mexican community and people whose work in Pt Reyes bridges the divide separating the Spanish-speaking and English–speaking communities, was displayed at Gallery Route One in the fall of 2006.

"Un Ojo Alerta," a retrospective of her 25 years as a photojournalist sponsored by the Banco de la República is opening November 17, 2006 at the Museo del Oro Quimbaya, in Armenia, Colombia, and will tour through the country for the next three years.

"Since the beginning of my career, I have felt a special connection with the forgotten people of the world.  They are a very important part of my work. With photos of their faces, dramas, and daily life, I have tried to call people?s attention to them.  In spite of their situation, poverty, abandonment, and misery, there is a strength that comes out of their spirits.  I strive to capture it."