6x6 North and Central America: Second cycle

Meet the latest 6x6 talents from North and Central America 

The 6x6 Global Talent Program recognizes six visual storytellers from six global regions, to highlight talent from around the world and present stories with diverse perspectives. Launched in 2017, the initiative completed its first cycle last year, spotlighting 36 talents from six global regions.

The second cycle began in April 2019, with six new talents from Southeast Asia and Oceania, South America, Europe, and Africa announced. We are now excited to present the new talents from North and Central America: Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Canada; Dieu Nalio Chery, Haiti; Gabriela Téllez, Costa Rica; Lisette Poole, Cuba/United States; Luis Antonio Rojas, Mexico; Rosem Morton, United States/The Philippines.

An international pool of international nominators and a selection committee selected the talents. Find out more about the nomination and selection processes.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Canada

Aaron Vincent Elkaim is a Canadian freelance photographer whose work explores environmental issues through postcolonial narratives of industrialization, land rights, and power structures.

His project A State of Erosion: A Legacy of Hydro in Manitoba’s North examines environmental colonialism in northern Manitoba, Canada. 97 percent of the province’s energy is produced by hydroelectricity and most of it comes from five dams on the Nelson River system. While these dams have been marketed as clean renewable energy, they have transformed ecosystems impacting indigenous health, culture, and livelihood.

For the construction of a sixth mega dam, Manitoba Hydro, the electric power and natural gas utility in the province, had to partner with four communities whose traditional territory would be impacted. The partnership divided the people between those who saw the construction as positive developments and those who were attached to their values and the protection of nature. 
“Aaron Vincent Elkaim uses storytelling and photojournalism to address critical issues. Through his work, he documents how the traditional communities are connected to their land.” - Heidi Romano, Australia, independent artist, curator, design consultant, and 6x6 nominator

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Dieu Nalio Chery, Haiti

Dieu Nalio Chery is a photojournalist from Haiti. He started as a commercial and freelance photographer and decided to pursue a career in photojournalism and join Associated Press in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In the past few years, Dieu Nalio Chery has mostly been working on breaking news focusing on human rights issues.

In Haiti: Nation on the Brink, Dieu Nalio Chery documents the violent demonstrations over fuel shortages, inflation, and allegations of government corruption in Haiti in 2019. Barricades in flames, lootings and overturned cars marked the political and social unrest in the streets of Port-au-Prince, where protesters demanded the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. The photographer was wounded on assignment in September 2019, when a senator fired a pistol during a confrontation with opposition protesters outside of Haiti’s Senate.
“When I first saw Dieu Nalio Chery’s work on Haiti's unrest the pictures were so hard-hitting it blew my mind. [...] He is not only a brilliant photographer, but also a courageous one. Talents like him deserve more exposure.” - Ritayan Mukherjee, India, independent photographer, and 6x6 nominator.

Gabriela Téllez, Costa Rica

Gabriela Téllez is a photographer living between France and Costa Rica, developing projects in both countries, but also around Central America. She is currently part of the Colectivo Nómada, a group of Costa Rican photographers creating an alternative visual communication platform.

Her series La 30 is an exploration of the #30 bus line route in San Salvador, marked by the latent violence in the country. According to an article published by The New York Times in November 2016, transport companies are particularly vulnerable to extortion by street gangs, stating that “In El Salvador, it is more dangerous to drive a bus than to fight against gangs: in the last five years gang members have killed 692 transport workers.” Téllez shows the workspace that bus drivers have appropriated as a way of safeguarding themselves. 
“Gabriela Téllez’s work is especially sensible for color and places, making her photography unique and rich in texture. Téllez found her voice by documenting the situations in her country. Her work is not well-known outside of Costa Rica. Cases such as Téllez’s are evidence of a reality that desperately needs solutions: women photographers in Central America need tools to build and project their narratives.” - Joana Toro, Colombia, photographer, and 6x6 nominator.

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Lisette Poole, Cuba/United States 

Lisette Poole is a Cuban-American photojournalist, currently based in Mexico. She works in Latin America using various mediums and formats to tell intimate and multi-dimensional stories from the region, focusing on women.

Her multimedia production Reggaetón Revolución delves into the Cuban reggaeton genre, which, though popular, is an underground movement, banned from state media outlets and recording studios. Artists lay tracks in basements and promote their music through a weekly system of offline file sharing known as ‘El Paquete.’ Because piracy is legal in Cuba, artists don’t make money in sales, but rather by touring the island’s provinces, fueled by the dedication from their young fans. Reggaetón Revolución shows a group of artists poised to gain success as the island opened up to the United States for the first time in decades.

“Lisette Poole focuses on the experiences during an investigation. She uses photography, words, atmospheres to make not just pictures, but make people travel, sharing without judgement.” - Romina Resuche, Argentina, curator, journalist, and 6x6 nominator

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Luis Antonio Rojas, Mexico

Luis Antonio Rojas is a Mexican documentary photographer and a National Geographic Explorer. He has a Civil Engineering degree, and while he was learning how to build a bridge less than a kilometer away, he produced The Last Peasants.

In The Last Peasants, Luis Antonio Rojas documents the Carmona family, the last farmers living in a rural microcosm in the middle of the concrete giant of Santa Fe, in Mexico City, a neighborhood planned by the government in the 1980s to represent the city’s growth and modernity. The project shows a family struggling with a vision of development in Latin America that has excluded low income rurality. They materialize the clash between tradition and modernity, social classes and the price of progress.
“The photography of Luis Antonio Rojas emerges from the everyday and takes us to unheard reflections. From its beginnings, he has stood out for its proximity to the people he portrays and his pictorial compositions. [...] Rojas carries out commissions for different international newspapers in his home country and at the same time elaborates projects with a unique perspective on issues widely covered by the media. These works are marked by the permanent search of divergent techniques, tools and ways of showing other points of view.” - Mariceu Erthal García, Mexico, documentary and visual storyteller, and 6x6 nominator

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Rosem Morton, United States/The Philippines 

Rosem Morton is a documentary photographer and nurse based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. She is a National Geographic Explorer producing visual stories that focus on the intersection of health, trauma, and resilience.

Her ongoing personal project Donning and Doffing chronicles the difficult conditions that health workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital staff are in close contact with the virus every day with a limited supply of personal protective equipment, while trying to keep track of changing protocols and working conditions.

It is my hope for the public to understand the intimate lives of healthcare providers as we continue to take care of patients while the novelty of the pandemic wears off and the crisis becomes normalized,” says Rosem Morton.
“Rosem Morton’s pictures are autobiographical in nature. [...] Her crafty and sensitive visual storytelling approach makes her work very powerful. I believe these important stories need to be part of a large platform and prompt meaningful conversations that help positive changes.” - Jashim Salam, Bangladesh, photographer, photo editor, educator, and 6x6 nominator

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In addition to exhibition opportunities, the work of the six talents will also be published and shared on the World Press Photo Foundation’s platforms, including a feature on our online magazine Witness for each of the talents. The 6x6 talents also receive an automatic nomination for World Press Photo’s prestigious Joop Swart Masterclassprovided that they meet the nomination criteria.

The last region of the second cycle, Asia, will open for nominations on 17 September. Discover the results of the first cycle in Asia, and the key dates for this region. 

See all projects from 6x6 North and Central America talents
See all 6x6 talents