Oscar B Castillo

6x6 South America Talent: Oscar B Castillo, Venezuela

“Oscar tries to understand the recent manifestations of violence and its relation with the political situation and with daily lives of the people of Venezuela. His view is radical, unadorned and mind opening. He puts a lot of energy and his whole heart into understanding the reality of his subjects and so getting as close as possible to the truth. The pain, Venezuela is going through, is given a human face with his images.” – Ruth Eichhorn, Germany, freelance photo editor, curator and 6x6 nominator

Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1981, Oscar B Castillo’s work as photographer is geared towards social subjects that 
promote ideas of solidarity, tolerance and respect. His coverage of the Venezuelan socio-political fractures was recognized with an Eugene Smith Fellowship in 2016, and by Picture of the Year Latin America in 2015. He is a two-time Magnum Foundation grantee and at the Eddie Adams Workshop XXVI, he was awarded the Tim Hetherington Special Award.

Our War - Our Pain

Venezuela is currently living one of its worst periods in recent history; a situation that, for a country with the richest oil reserves, seems extreme and surreal. Years of unsuitable public policies, continuous political confrontation, systematic corruption and incongruent discourse and actions give only dire results. Hugo Chavez's project gave hope to the excluded populations and built some strong grass root movements. However, over time, the idea of change mutated into indoctrination and popular support became blind fanaticism. Chavez's sudden death left the project headless, and a fractured society dealing with deep polarization. The inability of Nicolas Maduro to readdress critical issues has also contributed to the current disaster. As a Venezuelan, Castillo is linked to these stories, these streets and this growing pain. He has been closely following the rise of crime, the political rupture and the country's unrest, living it through his camera - and also through his family and friends.

Under Our Control

“My long term project about the causes and consequences of violence in Venezuela took me inside Venezuelan General Penitentiary, one of the biggest and most crowded prisons in the country more than three years ago. Originally built to house 750 inmates, it was said to have more than five times its capacity; however, some numbers place its population at 10,000 inmates. Beginning with a general view, I continued with the protagonists of this extreme reality, their families, their dreams of changing and the initiatives that could help to end the cycle of violence. I wanted to bring back a face for the many young men generally known only for being the ones that pull the trigger or receive bullets. It’s a system made in the image of Venezuela, where there is no control. In a penitentiary system without control, prisoners have all the control.” - Oscar B Castillo

Discover work by the 6x6 South America talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.