Phil Borges


The Lucie Awards, 2003

American Airlines Theatre, New York
October 18, 2003

The Lucie Awards is one of the highest and most prestigious awards honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The awards salute the achievements of the world's finest photographers. The photography community from countries around the globe will pay tribute to the year's most outstanding photography achievements presented at the Gala Awards ceremony.

In this year's ceremony, the Humanitarian Award will be presented to Phil Borges by Amnesty International.

For over 25 years, Phil Borges has been visiting and documenting indigenous and tribal cultures around the world. His images tap deeply into the human spirit of his subjects. Through his various exhibits, books, and educational programs, he strives to promote cultural diversity.

Phil Borges’ work has been called a balance of intense empathy and clean, clear craft. The Seattle-based photographer travelled after college exploring exotic places. In the 1980s, Borges gave up a lucrative career in dentistry to master photography. His travel background was surely an influence as he journeyed to Asia, Africa, and South America and recorded affecting portraits of Tibetans and other indigenous people around the world.

Borges' riveting portraits have been the subject of over 80 museum and solo gallery exhibits worldwide and are included in numerous museum and private collections. His award-winning books have been published in four languages, and in 1998 he was presented the Photo Media Magazine Photoperson of the Year" award. His first book, Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion (Rizzoli 96), is in its fifth printing, and his exhibit and book, Enduring Spirit, was selected by Amnesty International for the global celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Borges' most recent book, The Gift, documents the work of Interplast, an organization that provides reconstructive surgery for children in developing countries. Shot in Peru and Vietnam, The Gift is helping Interplast celebrate thirty years of service to children around the world. His current project focuses on the people of selected indigenous cultures and their relationship to the natural world. The exhibit and soon to be released book also documents the individuals in these cultures who mediate the spiritual relationship between the community and the environment—the people we in the West refer to as shamans.

Borges is the founder/director of Bridges, an online classroom program connecting children from indigenous and tribal cultures with their urban contemporaries for the purpose of exploring and preserving cultural diversity. He also teaches and lectures internationally, and he is co-founder of Blue Earth Alliance, a charitable foundation that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments. He lives with his family in Seattle.

Phil Borges


  • Field Notes, 2001

  • About Phil Borges

    Phil Borges accepting his Lucie Award, October 18, 2004

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