Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Based
Caracas, Venezuela
Born
Caracas, Venezuela
Status
Photographer
“To me, photography is an excuse to meet people, to live their lives and understand realities that I would never know otherwise.”

Beat

I usually cover Chavez and Venezuelan politics, but I also keep up with stories that have special colour, principally those that have a social impact.

One Shot

. EL CALLAO, Venezuela. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
An illegal miner uses a pulley to descend into a hole dug at a makeshift camp near El Callao in Venezuela's southern Bolivar state.
“I found myself in Bolivar state covering illegal mining, and after driving many hours looking for the mines themselves, we arrived at one crowded with workers. When they realised I had my camera, things became tense as they gathered around me, wanting to find out what I was doing. Soon enough, I was allowed to jump onto a rudimentary system of poles to descend some 20 meters to the bottom of the mine where they were looking for gold. Had I thought any longer, I’d never have jumped onto the contraption.”

Profile

I had no interest whatsoever in photography growing up; I studied geophysics. But one day in 2006 my partner at the time, who was interested in photography, said that she’d like to improve her skills by taking a course. I decided to join her simply because I had some free time. After that first class, I fell in love.

My first assignment as a photojournalist was for Reuters, covering an opposition march protesting against the closure of a television channel here in Venezuela. It was a huge march and there were many people holding placards, shouting. There was lots of colour - so much that I ended up confused and I was not able to fully appreciate the story. Despite this, it was a fascinating experience. The following day, I sat down with my editor and he explained why the photos didn’t quite work – I learnt then to focus my pictures much more.

The 2010 Haitian earthquake, without doubt, was the assignment that left the biggest mark on me. The work was intense; heart-breaking images were everywhere. At the beginning, it made me feel impotent seeing people suffer in that way. But the only way I could help was by doing my best to show the reality of what was happening; the only tool I had was a camera.

I’m always excited when I have the opportunity to cover social issues and I have time to get involved with the people that I photograph. To me, photography is an excuse to meet people, to live their lives and understand realities that I would never know otherwise.

I try to take photos that catch your attention for some time, images that are not easily forgotten.

My biggest lesson has been to understand the power of a good published image.

The first person that inspired me was Roberto Mata, a Venezuelan photographer known for running a major school here and for the work he has done in this country. He was also my first teacher.

Behind the Scenes

. Venezuela. REUTERS/Stringer
Reuters photographer Carlos Garcia Rawlins photographs a boy as he removes chiggers, the larvae of mites, from a fellow Yanomami in the community of Irotatheri, in the southern Amazonas state of Venezuela.