A theme that characterizes the history of humanity, as a condition acquired from birth or an ideal to be pursued and affirmed through social movements. Freedom is today, as never before, at the center of a reflection, which takes place around broader issues. Photojournalism is first and foremost a manifestation of freedom of expression and movement. Freedoms that are often still denied, if we think of phenomena, such as: migratory flows, the possibility of accessing and guaranteeing health care, episodes of racism, the impact of intensive human actions perpetrated on the territory, to the detriment of environmental resources and of the populations involved in certain places on earth. These are just some of the points that need to be addressed. Through photographic narration, freedom becomes an area to be investigated further in order to document its presence, its absence and the path to search for it, as a condition that should concern every living being.

The selected projects will be submitted to an international jury, composed of professionals
and chaired by Patricia Franceschetti Cagnoni.

The experts will meet in order to determine the award winner and assign special mentions.


MANUEL RIVERA-ORTIZ photographs the poor and disenfranchised around the world. His photographic stories of hardship and hope in some of the world’s poorest nations serve as a testament to the life he himself experienced growing up in backwater barrios of Guayama, Puerto Rico.
Current events, popular culture and mass media tend not to play a role in Rivera-Ortiz’ images. Instead, his work has more to do with the universality of poverty, the presence of hope in adversity and the dignity of people living in distress. The landless, the forgotten, all play an integral role in the greater message of Rivera-Ortiz’ images: that no matter what, all life is sacred and every human on earth deserves the opportunity of a healthy, happy existence.
Manuel Rivera-Ortiz has traveled many corners of the world from India to Kenya, Bolivia to Cuba, Thailand to Turkey and beyond. His major projects include the Mumbai slums Dharavi and Baiganwadi in India, the indigenous Aymara in the Andes and Altiplano regions in Bolivia and his breakout collection on tobacco workers of the Viñales Valley in Cuba.
After leaving Puerto Rico in the fall of 1979, Rivera-Ortiz moved with his family to Holyoke, MA, where he attended Lawrence Elementary School. While living there he also attended summer school for the children of migrant workers at Mount Holyoke College, and at Springfield College where he took up the camera for the first time. In Rochester, NY, Rivera-Ortiz attended Frederick Douglass Junior High School, and East High School.
Images from Rivera-Ortiz’s work are now in the permanent collections of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. His work is also found at Columbia University’s Joseph Pulitzer Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, Lehigh University Art Galleries collection in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd in Zurich and other private and corporate collections. Rivera-Ortiz’ photography is included in several books including the literary collection titled “Voices in First Person: Reflections On Latino Identity” (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2008). His work can also be found in the Colombian photography publication “Percepciones en Blanco & Negro” (Adéer Lynad, Colombia).
Latest book are “India: A Celebration of Life,” Kehrer Verlag, and the upcoming “Cuba: Finding Home,” Kehrer Verlag.
Rivera-Ortiz is currently working on a trilogy memoir as well as several other photography books. Rivera-Ortiz’ work is in the Hallmark Collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

Manuel Rivera Ortiz

The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation


Photography critic, editor and curator, she deals with exhibition and publishing projects within visual culture.
After studying Environmental and Territorial Sociology at La Sapienza University of Rome, she completed her studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. In Paris she deepened the history and criticism of contemporary photography, dedicating herself exclusively to curatorial activity.
In 2010 she has been included in the list of Expert Consultants of the ICCD – Central Institute for the Catalogue and Documentation of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
From the same year she is president of pianoBI.
Since 2012 she has been a member of Progetto Donne e Futuro, for which she represents the Women and Art section.
Among the different organizations and entities with she collaborated: the production company Giart for the Fotografia Italiana documentary film series, distributed by Contrasto; Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Treccani for which she worked on the Contemporary Japanese Photography section, included in the publication Enciclopedia of Contemporary Art.
She has also also curated exhibitions and edited photographic books for several authors, including: Maurizio Galimberti Italyscapes (2013) and Portraits (2016), Francesco Faraci Malacarne (2016), Giuseppe Mastromatteo, Humanscape (2018), Nicola Tanzini TokyoTzukiji (2018), Group Exhibition #18Explorations (2018), Alberto Gandolfo What remains (2019), Romano Cagnoni Human Revelation (2019) and many other.
Portfolio reviewer, member of the jury and nominator of national and international awards, she is contributing editor for Il Fotografo Italian magazine.
Benedetta is a member of The Romano Cagnoni Foundation’s Board of Directors and Director of the Romano Cagnoni Award.

Benedetta Donato

Director of Romano Cagnoni Award

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