S1 E1: Juan Carlos Ortiz – Photographer

Juan Carlos Ortiz is a portrait photographer, currently based in Tokyo, Japan.

Juan Carlos is originally from a small town up high on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, and he has found himself living and working all over the world, including in Italy, France, Belgium, Australia and the UK.

His qualifications at the School of Design in Barcelona and Fashion and Design School in Milan led to his working on fashion shoots for Vogue Italia, Vogue Uomo and Grazia.

His photography has a cinematographic quality to it. As you will hear from our conversation, his passion for silent movies from a young age is a key influence. As a result, his photography is often hugely expressive, raw and honest.

By Juan Carlos Ortiz

In 2017 Juan Carlos published his first book: I SEE YOU, a collection of portraits taken between the years 2000 to 2017 from his travels through Europe and Australia. This project was Highly Commended in the Australian Photography Magazine’s 2018 Photographer of the Year competition and in the Capture Magazine’s 2019 Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers.

​Juan Carlos is now resident in Tokyo where he is currently working on a photographic project called “Souls of Japan”. In 2020, this creative body of work won the national “Nyu-Sen” prize in the 45th Exhibition of the Japan Professional Photographers Society.

By Juan Carlos Ortiz

Our conversation took place in late December 2019, a few towns away from where he grew up, high in the mountains. With the sun shining brightly through the window, overlooking a snow capped valley, we sat down to discuss his life and his work. This podcast doesn’t follow the Five Rooms format that you will come to know and (I hope) love, but I hope you enjoy our conversation regardless.

Recording the podcast with Juan Carlos Ortiz in Vilac, December 2019

You can see more of his work at or check out his Instagram page