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Bear Guerra

Bear Guerra was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Photojournalism for his 2009 VQR photo essay, “The Young Mothers of Port-au-Prince,” and was a 2013–2014 Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado.


A young mother rests under mosquito nets with her newborn baby in one of the four Doctors Without Borders clinics in Port-au-Prince. The humanitarian organization tries to fill in gaps left by the capital city's virtually nonexistent healthcare system.

The Young Mothers of Port-au-Prince

Summer 2009 | Photography

After the last of four back-to-back hurricanes pummeled Haiti in August and September 2008, mountains of garbage, mud, raw sewage, and debris were left behind, clogging the streets of Port-au-Prince. A spate of unbearably hot and humid days followed, making the city’s narrow confines feel even more claustrophobic than usual. In the neighborhood of Carrefour Feuilles, a sprawling slum of one-room cardboard and tin shacks that look like they’re about to collapse, that’s exactly what happened.

Coca Si, Cocaína No

May 12, 2008

Bolivian President Evo Morales won office three years ago with the support of the nation's coca growers. He's supporting those cocaleros with his "Coca Si, Cocaína No" program, allowing coca to be produced and marketed legally, while barring [...]


Photograph by Bear Guerra

Exile in White

Spring 2018 | Essays

It’s Friday morning. As has been his custom for almost three decades, Miguel Natividad Borrayo is dressed in white, from his T-shirt to his shoes, to honor those imprisoned for challenging the Castro regime—men like him, who spent seventeen years doing hard labor.

“White symbolizes peace,” says Miguel. “It’s how I protest.” But there was nothing peaceful about what got him in trouble to begin with. Back in 1961, he was a thirty-two-year-old career officer in the Cuban Navy. He’d been a staunch supporter of US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista until Fidel Castro’s successful guerrilla uprising in 1959.

Photograph by Bear Guerra

Starting Over

Winter 2017 | Essays

From a block away in Los Angeles’s Chinatown, we can just barely make out a sound unlike any we’ve ever heard, as if from underwater—melancholy, dissonant, otherworldly music. It pulls us toward the corner of Broadway and Alpine, where an older man sits upon a stool. He wears a Panama hat and silk jacket. A bow slides back and forth across his erhu, a two-stringed lute-like instrument he’s plugged into a tiny, battery-powered amp. Next to him, on the sidewalk, the erhu’s case sits open with a few dollar bills and coins inside. His name is Yingchang Song. Our interpreter, a Ph.D. student at USC, introduces us. Soon enough, she and Song realize they’re from the same city in northeastern China—Qingdao. They hit it off immediately: Not only do they both speak Mandarin in what they see as Cantonese-dominant Chinatown, but they know the words to many of the same folk songs. A generation apart, here they are on a corner in Los Angeles—and Song is visibly thrilled, but needs to get back to playing.

Ecuadoran Tree Frogs by Bear Guerra

Rocket Frog

Summer 2016 | Reporting

Ruxandra Guidi follows Andrés Merino-Viteri and his team as they work to preserve native frog populations in Ecuador. Photography by Bear Guerra.

Rising Tides

Summer 2011 | Reporting

For the subsistence fishermen of the Kuna Yala Islands, the greatest danger is the encroaching ocean they depend on.

Mother of God, Child of Zeus

Fall 2010 | Reporting

I want to lie like the street dogs do, bare stomach skyward, inviting the lightest touch of breeze. The men here rest that way too, in plastic chairs shaded by blue-tarp awnings, T-shirts hiked up over their bellies. Small, naked children sprawl, listless, on the cool tile floors of Laberinto’s gold-buying shops along the southern bank of Peru’s broad Rio Madre de Dios.