Born in 1944, Paz Errázuriz is a Chilean photographer with a career spanning more than thirty years. She studied at the Cambridge Institute of Education in England in 1966 and at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, graduating in 1972. In 1981 Errázuriz cofounded with various other Chilean photographers the Asociación de Fotógrafos Independientes. She never received formal education in photography, however, until 1993, when she enrolled in the International Center of Photography in New York. Over the years Errázuriz has turned her gaze to the most marginal, who often have less access to power or even to the means to voice their discontent. Her candid yet poetic black-and-white photographs often take the form of a series, at times accompanied by the writings of other women. In one of her first photographic series from 1979–80, Dormidos (Asleep), Errázuriz documented the lives of individuals who sleep on the streets of Santiago. This series can be read as a metaphor for the paralysis in which Chileans found themselves at the end of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–90). One of her most important series, La manzana de Adán (Adam's apple, 1982–90), was published as a photo-essay with text by Claudia Donoso (1921–2008). In it, Errázuriz and Donoso were given entree into the lives of Mercedes, Evelyn, and Pilar, three transvestites who worked in the brothels of La Jaula and La Palmera in the towns of Talca and Santiago, respectively. Another photographic book, El infarto del alma (Heart attack of the soul, 1994), published with text by Diamela Eltit (b. 1949), documents the lives of patients confined to a psychiatric hospital in Putaendo. Both photographer and author gained the trust of the patients before rendering them as subjects. Other important series—such as Kawesqar, Los boxeadores (The boxers), and Mujeres (Women)—make up Errázuriz's oeuvre.
Photographs by Errázuriz are in the collections of, among others, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. She has been the recipient of important grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1986), Fundación Andes (1990), Fulbright Program (1992), and Fondart (1994, 2009). She has been honored in Chile with the Ansel Adams Award by the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura (1995), Premio Altazor de las Artes Nacionales (2005), and Premio a la Trayectoria Artística by the Círculo de Críticos de Arte de Chile (2005). In 2014 she received the Pablo Neruda Order of Merit, the highest cultural and artistic recognition given by the Chilean government, and in 2015 she was given the PhotoEspaña Award, which pays tribute to the professional career of a major figure. Along with fellow Chilean artist Lotty Rosenfeld (b. 1943), Errázuriz represented Chile in the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
1980 Personas, Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago
1989 La manzana de Adán, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney
1996 Los nómadas del mar, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago
2006 Paz Errázuriz: Fotografías, Chile, 1981–2002, Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires
2014 Paz Errázuriz / Matrix 251, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California
Aliaga, Juan Vicente, Gerardo Mosquera, and Paulina Varas. Paz Errázuriz. Madrid: Fundación Mapfre, 2015.
Donoso, Claudia, and Paz Errázuriz. La manzana de Adán. Santiago: Zona, 1990.
Donoso, Claudia, José Weinstein, and Paz Errázuriz. Guía negra de Santiago. Providencia-Santiago: Dolmen, 1999.
Eltit, Diamela, and Paz Errázuriz. El infarto del alma. Santiago: F. Zegers, 1994.
Giunta, Andrea. "Sentir, pese a todo / To Feel, despite Everything." In Poéticas de la disidencia / Poetics of Dissent: Paz Errázuriz— Lotty Rosenfeld, edited by Nelly Richard, 102–37. Barcelona: Polígrafa, 2015.