Photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz is a man on a mission, just him and his camera. His pictures compiled since 2006 portray the sad realities found on the toughest streets of Chicago and Philadelphia.
“To me, it’s about life after death," Ortiz said.
Feeling otherwise helpless, at 39, Ortiz knew he needed to do something to help, something to heighten awareness.
“I could kinda see things weren’t gonna go right for them, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, but take pictures," he said.
Years later, the documentarian published a book and titled it “We All We Got.”
"The project looks at circumstances, the aftermath, what happens in devastating situations, how people learn to cope and live again," he said.
WGN profiled Ortiz back in 2009. Little did he know then that his project was just getting started.
Soon, all of Ortiz's photos will be on exhibit at David Weinberg Photography in River North. After nine years, his private gallery will transform to showcase only works highlighting social justice issues -- a gallery better aligned with his beliefs, he says. He’s re-launching the space featuring Carlos Javier Ortiz and “We All We Got.”
I fell in love with his work. It was dramatic, heartfelt, explicit, told the story so beautifully," said David Weinberg with David Weinberg Photography.
An art exhibition, a book release, a short film followed by panel discussions and events that raise money and awareness for social justice organizations -- Carlos Javier Ortiz is making a difference "with all he’s got."
"He’s bringing to life something that most of us only read about or hear about," Weinberg said."
“We All We Got” opens to the public on Oct. 10. You can buy the book at the gallery, buy Ortiz’s art there and even see his 8-minute film.
Oct. 9 is Impact Night. Money raised that night benefits programs helping kids who have been or could easily become the next victims of gun violence on our streets.
The exhibit runs through Jan. 5.