Shawn Mortensen was a Los Angeles based photographer, artist, director and activist. He was raised in Orange County, California, and attended Regents College in London, and then USC where he majored in art and film. His iconic photographs have been exhibited at New York’s Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the International Center of Photography and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
A global traveler, Shawn captured the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico; he documented the dance halls and shantytowns of Kingston, Jamaica, the people of South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mongolia. He simply did not go to these far lands to take photographs, he was an activist. He was involved in AIDS awareness going to South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria to create an MTV short documentary and collaborate with the REDHOT organization, just one of the many causes he helped. His photographs gave the subject a sense of dignity no matter who it was, be it a celebrity, a socialite or an AIDS orphan. That came from his incredible sense of humility.