Ruven Afanador is an internationally renowned photographer of limitless imagination, powerful vision and profound sense of self.
He was born in Colombia, and his proud Latin American heritage has inspired his extensive body of work creating an intensely personal language characterized by the balance of bold emotion and delicate nuance. The expressive images in his six books (Torero, Sombra, Mil Besos, Ángel Gitano, Yo seré tu espejo, Hijas del Agua), his portraiture and fashion editorials reveal extravagant dreamlike sequences that seem to emerge from Afanador’s original imagination already full grown, always splendid sometimes mischievous, often decadent, all steeped in classic formality.
Ruven’s work has appeared in countless publications including New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, The New York Times Magazine, numerous Vogue editions, Tatler, Elle, and The New Yorker.
His personal projects have been exhibited in Galleries and Museums in Spain, Italy, Colombia, Argentina, Japan and the United States. His most recent exhibition was at the National Museum of Colombia in Bogota in 2021. It comprised 60 large format photographs from Hijas del Agua, his book that pays homage to the indigenous cultures which have inhabited Colombia for thousands of years.
He lives in New York City from where he continues his career photographing the emblematic figures of contemporary fashion, music and film, as well as his personal projects, always challenging the conventional definitions of gender and beauty.
Ruven Afanador’s portrait of children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman was inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on November 10th, 2022 as part of the museum’s Portrait of a Nation Award — a biennial prize established in 2015 that recognizes extraordinary individuals who have made transformative contributions to the U.S.