Louis Dematteis

Title: Owner
Company: Dematteis Photography and Film
Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Louis Dematteis, Owner at Dematteis Photography and Film, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Business Owners for dedication, achievements, and leadership in photojournalism.

Following obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1970 from the University of San Francisco, Mr. Dematteis completed coursework with the de Young Museum Art School in San Francisco in 1974 and in photography from the University of California Extension in 1978.

As a photographer and filmmaker, Mr. Dematteis covers issues of social, political and environmental importance around the globe. He began his international work in Italy in the 1970s. He excelled with United Press International from 1981 to 1984 in San Francisco and then as a freelance photographer, staff photographer and photo bureau chief with Reuters News Pictures in Managua, Nicaragua from 1985 to 1990, during the height of the Contra War. After returning to San Francisco, he served as a contract photographer and photo bureau chief with Reuters News Pictures from 1990 to 2008. Since 1975, he has prospered as owner of Dematteis Photography.

For his work in Nicaragua, Mr. Dematteis has received a citation from World Press Photo and his photos have been featured in the New York Times and National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year. He has also worked in El Salvador, Haiti, and Panama where there were conflicts.

During the 1990s, Mr. Dematteis traveled to Vietnam, where he directed and participated in the first exhibit by U.S. photographers in Vietnam since the end of the war in 1975, and in 1994 presented the first exhibit of Vietnamese photographers living in Vietnam to be shown in the United States since the war in Vietnam ended in 1975. In 1995, he published “A Portrait of Viet Nam (W.W. Norton),” a book of his own photography in Vietnam in the 90s.

In 1993, Mr. Dematteis turned his attention to the damaging effects caused by environmental pollution in the Amazon in Ecuador, focusing the effects on the health of indigenous peoples in the region, publishing his findings in the 2008 book “Crude Reflections: Oil, Ruin and Resistance in the Amazon Rainforest/Cruda Realidad: Petroleo, Devastacion y Resistencia en la Amazonia.”

Mr. Dematteis has imparted his knowledge as a professor of photojournalism from 2002 to 2020 with San Francisco City College and curated numerous exhibitions from 1985 to 2021. In addition, he has instructed students in international photojournalism and marketing with Media Alliance in San Francisco. As a film producer and director, he has helmed such films as “Keeper of the Fire,” “The Other Barrio,” “Crimebuster: A Son’s Search for His Father” and “Mission Movie.”

Mr. Dematteis’ numerous honors include a documentary photography exhibition grant from the Open Society Institute, George Soros Foundation; a certificate of special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community for the book “A Portrait of Vietnam,” a City and County of San Francisco Proclamation for “A Portrait of Vietnam: Photographs by Lou Dematteis,” and many more.

Mr. Dematteis attributes his success to hard work and a keen sensitivity to the people in his life and the world around him. He considers his career highlight being able to focus his work on social, political, and environmental justice in both photography and film. In coming years, he plans to focus on organizing his comprehensive archive of photographic works and hopes that they will continue to be acquired by museums and universities in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Dematteis recently had his first set of images acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and by the Photographic History Collection in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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