Jorge Dan Lopez

Jorge Dan Lopez

Based
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Born
Chilpancingo, Mexico
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark III, 1D Mark IV
“I like all stories that involve being 100 percent there with your body and mind.”

Beat

I cover news and lifestyle stories.

One Shot

. Cuilapa, Guatemala. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez
Soldiers stand guard at the entrance of the Santa Rosa Cuilapa stadium, adapted for people displaced by earthquakes in Cuilapa, Guatemala.
“I like this image because after this little girl spent the night with her family in an improvised shelter in a football stadium, following damage to her house by a massive earthquake, she still had the capacity to play.”

Profile

I started getting interested in photography when I found a photo book on Vietnam at home when I was a kid. There were not a lot of photography books around in Chilpancingo at that time, and I was curious about how a photograph could tell people a story. I started to teach myself and that’s how I’ve learnt. And that’s how I continue to learn every day.

My first assignment was for a very small newspaper in my hometown and I didn’t really know what I was doing, or what I was supposed to do. I had very little equipment, just a lot of eagerness.

My first published photograph was one of a small kid sniffing glue. It was incredible seeing that picture published. There was no pay but that wasn’t important.

Before starting my career as a photographer, I spent a few years studying geology in Mexico City, moving to Italy, getting a job as a lift-fork driver, and learning how to restore antique furniture at a workshop in Bologna. At that time, I would send my photographs to local and foreign agencies, hoping that someday I would be able to make a living as a photographer. At last, I got lucky and met Reuters’ photographer Dylan Martinez. After moving back to Mexico, I finally started to work as a full-time freelancer for Reuters. The lesson I learnt: never give up on your dreams!

A couple of weeks ago, and for the first time in my career, I felt fear while covering a story. I was taking pictures while surrounded by outraged people, mostly women, literally out of control, who were trying to lynch four men. It was total chaos, but I tried to go unnoticed and trust my instincts and skills to deal with the situation. It went alright, but the feeling was there nevertheless.

My favourite assignments don’t have to be top news pieces. I like all stories that involve being 100 percent there with your body and mind.

Going through ups and downs in my life (and my job) has taught me to maintain a certain amount of humility, and the firm conviction of not wanting to hurt anyone.

I admire the people who work every day like it’s their first day, and who go out there with lots of enthusiasm and eloquence. And I have a lot of respect for people who live in extremely poor conditions. Above all, they have taught me that it is important to keep your feet on the ground and to do something important with your life.

Behind the Scenes

. Mexico City, Mexico
Jorge Dan Lopez stands in front of a burning car on the outskirts of Mexico city during coverage of the lynching of child abductors.