Carlos Jasso

Carlos Jasso

Panama City, Panama
Mexico City, Mexico
“The truth is really complicated. You have to follow your instincts and be as honest as you can be.”


I cover everything from politics and sports to conflicts and features. I’m especially interested in human stories, pictures that capture the truth about who we are. I try to capture that moment when there is no pretence, when someone is just real.

One Shot

. MEXICO CITY, Mexico. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Inmates practice yoga during a class at a juvenile detention centre in Mexico City, as part of the Parinaama Prison Project, a voluntary yoga program.
“When I was in Mexico I did this story about inmates in a youth prison doing yoga as part of their rehabilitation. In this picture, they’re in a yoga position and their hands are reaching up to the sky, to the light. To me it really showed hope for change. For the one hour that they do yoga, they feel free.”


When I was around seven or eight years old I got a Kodak Fischer Price camera for Christmas. I remember going on a trip with my family and taking lots of pictures. As a kid, to see your world through a lens and to try to capture everything was very exciting. When we got back to Mexico City the film had been lost. I was devastated.

A few years later, my sister was studying photography. I started to get very excited about it and I decided to become a photographer. My dad got me my first proper camera, a Nikon semi-automatic EM.

In Mexico I worked at a travel magazine. Then I moved to London and wanted to get into photojournalism. My brother-in-law worked at “The Independent” and I followed him around. I used to go to all of his assignments and photograph them, just to learn, to build up my portfolio. Then I got a job at a small news agency in London. A month later, I was covering the 2005 London terrorist attacks.

My first assignment came when I was still in university. My neighbour worked at “La Jornada”, a big Mexican newspaper, and there was a trolley accident right by our house. About 30 people were badly hurt, some died. “La Jornada” didn’t have any extra photographers so my neighbour called me. I didn’t know exactly what to do, my adrenalin was pumping. There were a lot of things in my mind – you think how life can change in just one second. You feel overwhelmed but you know you just have to do your job. You have to take the best picture you can.

I learn something from every assignment, from the 2005 terror attacks in London, to the casino bombing in Monterrey last year, to covering the drug war in Mexico. That story was very difficult. Those communities are held hostage by fear and violence and you have to think about how to cover the issue without provoking unnecessary fear, unnecessary pain.

Every assignment is interesting to me because you never know what’s going to happen. Every assignment has a moment of fear or a moment of love, a chance to make the world understand there is happiness, sadness, fear, grief, poverty, everything. The only thing I know how to do is take pictures and that is my voice to help others communicate.

I get excited every time I grab my camera and I’m going to take pictures. The news and the world changes every single moment. It doesn’t stop.

I don’t have a particular audience, I just love to take pictures and, as an agency photographer, I know the pictures go everywhere. I hope that when people see them they learn a little bit about the world.

As photographers we have a huge responsibility to show the world what we experience, what is happening. Sometimes it is difficult to know what is true and what is not. Covering the drug war in Mexico, for example, I learnt a lot. You have to judge what’s going on: you don’t want to turn into the messenger for the cartels, but you also don’t want to be the tool of the government. The truth is really complicated. You have to follow your instincts and be as honest as you can be.

I respect people who are honest. People who are humble. People who are themselves.

Behind the Scenes

. Kuna Yala, Panama
Carlos Jasso takes pictures as a border police helicopter takes off during a patrol in the area of Bonga, in the region of Kuna Yala, Panama