Juan Carlos Ulate

Juan Carlos Ulate

San Jose, Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica
“I do not think photography should be aimed at a specific audience. It is universal.”


Politics, Sports, Environment.

One Shot

. Santa Cruz, Costa Rica. Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate
A baby turtle crawls toward the sea after being released by residents of Ostional Beach in Santa Cruz.
“One morning, I was walking along the beach, waiting for the mass arrival of turtles to lay their eggs. Suddenly hundreds of baby turtles came out of the sand looking for the sea. For me, that somehow symbolizes the right to life.”


My first memory of photography was a dramatic photo of people escaping through the windows of a bus, which had fallen into an estuary in the city of Puntarenas. More than 30 people died.

You learn to take pictures when you feel passionate about what you're doing.

My first assignment was covering a press conference in the mountains of Nicaragua by Eden Pastora, a former guerilla commander, during which a bomb exploded. Four journalists and two guerillas were killed. There were both local and foreign press there and as he spoke the explosion happened. Now 32 years later, Pastora is a politician and part of the same government he sought to overthrow. It was a sad story and I learned to be more careful when covering conflict areas.

The assignment that has left the biggest mark on me was the story of Cecilia Villegas, an elderly woman living alone on an island and who went fishing to survive. Despite the poverty and difficulties she faced, she was optimistic and happy.

I like covering human stories, seeing how different people face life. It also shows me how I can improve or what I should not do.

Photojournalism is important because it shows the reality of the world we live in. I do not think photography should be aimed at a specific audience. It is universal.

I have always strived to be honest and passionate in my work. My advice to those starting out as photojournalists now would be: be passionate, have perseverance and always seek the best.

Behind the Scenes

Juan Carlos Ulate is seen at a monkey rescue center.