Lou Dematteis - Biography


Lou Dematteis has spent much of the last twenty years working in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. A former staff photographer with Reuters, Lou was based in Managua, Nicaragua, during the height of the Contra war. In 1986, his photographs of downed U.S. soldier-of-fortune Eugene Hasenfus received international recognition, including a citation from the World Press Photo competition and inclusion in the New York Times' and National Press Photographers Association's Pictures of the Year. His photographic anthology, Nicaragua: A Decade of Revolution, was published by Norton in 1991. In 1993, he traveled to the Ecuadorian Amazon to document the damaging effects of Texaco's oil exploitation and resultant environmental pollution. He has returned several times to continue this documentation and has most recently focused on the health impacts on the people of the Amazon as a result of Texaco’s toxic contamination. His work from Ecuador can be seen in the exhibit Crude Reflections: ChevronTexaco’s Rainforest Legacy and online at Chevron Toxico.

Dematteis's photos have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad, including showings at the Ansel Adams Center in San Francisco and the Photographers' Gallery in London. In 1992, he directed and participated in the first exhibit by U.S. photographers in Vietnam since the end of the war; and in fall 1994, he presented the first exhibit by Vietnamese photographers to show in the United States as well.

In 1990 he was named one of the top 80 photojournalists in the world. His work has been exhibited on four continents and in 2007 he received a grant from the Open Society Institute to exhibit his work from the Ecuadoran Amazon in the communities in Ecuador most affected by the contamination left in the region as a result of Texaco's oil extraction practices. Lou lives and works in San Francisco.

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