Rolando Urrutia, a Guatemalan photographer who portrayed the country for four decades, dies

In each image, in each documentary, in each filming by photographer and filmmaker Rolanda Urrutia, the ecological, archaeological, cultural and spiritual wealth of Guatemala shines: her legacy is an audiovisual treasure that spans four decades. He passed away this morning.

“Rolando was one of the pioneers of filming in Guatemala, from the commercial to the artistic, a lover of filming documentaries in 35 mm format, which through our long friendship and adventures like following Pope John Paul II, was always a topic of discussion. Rolando’s film archives are extensive and of great historical value for Guatemala, ”says photographer Ricky López.

“He was a warrior, a dreamer and a great friend, who since now I miss long talks and discussions on issues of how to promote, raise awareness and show the riches of our land,” says López.

Dr. Alfredo Mackenney, mountaineer and photographer remembers that Rolando always thanked him for inspiring him to make films about Guatemala.

“Lately it was going to be a documentary about my hundreds of climbs to the Pacaya volcano, we went a couple of times, but when we were going to talk, he fell ill. It was going to be mid-December, ”Mackenney recalls.

On the YouTube network are some of Urrutia’s documentaries, referring to the multiculturalism of the country and also to the pre-Hispanic legacy. He studied cinema in New York and already in Guatemala he developed in the advertising environment, but his great passion was to record often remote parts of the country.

Urrutia in an area filming during 1990. (Free Press Photo: Rolando Urrutia Archive)

“Rolando Urrutia is one of the photographers who has traveled the most throughout Guatemala. For four decades it has been in the homes of many people, in many places and therefore has many treasures that must be known and valued ”, says businessman Emilio Méndez.

“Rolando had an indomitable and liberated spirit, he lived his life as he pleased, above the opinions of society and he enjoyed his life fully, in freedom, with the passion of a lover and the curiosity of a child.

Rolando was not the type of person to live tied to a bed, to a chair, to a hospital. That inspiration that Rolando sowed in those of us who had the good fortune to share with him, is sacred, it is luminous, it is joyful and here it remains ”, adds Méndez.

Rolando Urrutia was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early December. He underwent a delicate surgery which he managed to get out of on December 15. However, today grief fills his family and loved ones. He stopped suffering the morning of this December 31.

His great audiovisual poem of love for the country has been embodied for four decades. Last October Mi Bella Guatemala was presented, a production in which he contributed images to the music of the classical group Ensamble Millenium, whose director, Dr. Dieter Lehnhoff tells: “He is a great filmmaker and I proposed to make a documentary with his images and music from Guatemalan composers to commemorate the Bicentennial ”.

Image of the November 1 races in Todos Santos Cuchumatán captured by Urrutia. (Free Press Photo: Rolando Urrutia Archive)

“Takes from different parts of Guatemala were included and Juan Bauer helped us with the editing,” says soprano Cristina Altamira de Lehnhoff.

A GoFund collection is still open to support hospital expenses due to the fact that he did not have insurance at the time he began to suffer health problems.

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