Developing negative images into positive actions

Stories and experiences of working in participatory photography projects with vulnerable communities around the world, and using this method as a tool for social change and as a way to overcome traumas and help to support self advocacy. 

About Miguel

Throughout his 20 year career Miguel has continuously strived to give the unrepresented, the marginalised and the misunderstood a voice and a place in our society.

Originally from Colombia, Miguel has worked with communities across the world, using photography and film as a tool to drive awareness and social change.

He has worked with communities affected by war, poverty and sexual violence, with child soldiers, orphans, gang members and refugees. He has worked in cities and rural communities across South America, Europe and Africa.

He is the author of the book Voices of the Jungle which documents his time spent in the refugee camp, infamously known as The Jungle, in Calais, Northern France.

Miguel initially went to The Jungle to deliver a series of participatory photography projects to help the refugees process their experiences and the difficulties they faced living in the camp day by day. He ended up staying there for an extended time and became both resident, photographer and a much needed friend and confident for many of the inhabitants. As the title of his book suggests, its purpose is to share an intimate portrait of the lives, memories, hopes and dignity of the people that were stranded there.

As with all his projects, Miguel focuses on the humanity and the hope of the people that have been isolated or ignored; trying to empower them, creating advocacy and giving a wider exposure to the issues that surround them.

While working in the harshest and often the bleakest of places, one thing that is ever present in Miguel’s work is the unfaltering dignity that immerses his subjects. Rather than focusing on the continuing and exploitative narrative of horror and drama, Miguel chooses to amplify humanity to honour them. His work seeks to inspire, invite empathy and motivate people to create a better future.

Miguel Angel Amórtegui

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