Sergio Ortiz

Photojournalist and Travel Writer

Based on Fox Island, WA, Sergio Ortiz is an internationally-known photojournalist and travel writer.  His work has appeared in a wide range of publications that include Americas, a magazine published by the Organization of American States, Vanity FairParis Match, TIME, Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, and Recommend Magazine.

His interest in news photography began as a boy, with a used Argus 35mm camera in hand and an impromptu darkroom in his mother’s bathroom. His first professional sale was a picture of John F. Kennedy romping in the surf in Santa Monica. The 13-year-old photojournalist jumped on a streetcar to Los Angeles, developed the film, and made a whopping $35 from UPI. A career was born. 

In addition to the aforementioned publications, his career includes stints as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Marine Corps, reporting and shooting for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, photo editor for the Associated Press, and editor of Ranch and Coast Magazine.

After attending Pepperdine University on a journalism scholarship, he went to work for the Herald-Examiner and waited for the draft to knock on his door. In fact, he was ready, having turned down a job with LIFE magazine after winning numerous college journalism awards because the editors refused to send someone so young to cover a war. “Vietnam was the story of my generation,” Ortiz said, “so I signed with the Marines as long as they would send me to Vietnam as a combat correspondent.”

Most recently he has again received attention for his work, decades after the fact, as a combat photographer. His photos from the war have been published widely and featured on the cover of the best-selling book Lost Over Laos, by Richard Pyle and Horst Faas (a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize) a nonfiction account of four famous photographers (Larry Burrows of LIFE; Henri Huet, AP; Kent Potter, UPI and Keisaburo Shimamoto, Newsweek), who were killed over the Ho Chi Minh Trail shortly after Ortiz photographed them boarding a helicopter.

He and other prominent war correspondents will be featured in “The Last Shutter,” an upcoming documentary on the contributions of photographers to the Vietnam War. It was the first and last war to be completely open to full news coverage, giving the world a glimpse at the harsh realities of up-close and uncensored combat.

He also has had numerous exhibits of his work in Southern California art galleries. 

Location: Fox Island, Washington State

Military Branch: U.S.Marine Corps