For over twenty five years Phil Borges has lived with and documented indigenous and tribal cultures around the world. Through his work, he strives to create a heightened understanding of the issues faced by people in the developing world.
Through his exhibits and award-winning books, Phil attempts to create a relationship between the audience and his photographic subjects. “I want the viewer to see these people as individuals, to know their names and a bit of their history, not just to view them as an anonymous part of some remote ethnic or tribal group.”
His book TIBETAN PORTRAIT: The Power of Compassion, introduces individuals from a deeply spiritual culture who have been marginalized and displaced by the occupation of their homeland. In 1998 he joined Amnesty International to present ENDURING SPIRIT, an exhibit and book celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His exhibit and book The Gift highlights the work of medical teams that provide facial reconstructive surgery to children in the developing world.
In 2004 Phil began an ongoing project to highlight the oppression and discrimination women and girls still face in the developing world. Phil worked with the organization CARE to release the book and exhibition titled Women Empowered in 2006. Phil’s most recent exhibition addressing gender issues is titledStirring The Fire: a global movement to empower women and girls. The exhibition and companion website is designed to bridge the gap between awareness and action. Central to the project is the Call to Action with its searchable database of organizations and resources intended to provide specific opportunities for those wanting to help women and girls achieve social and economic justice worldwide.
Phil has hosted three television documentaries for Discovery and National Geographic as a part of a series that investigates indigenous cultures that still maintain a spiritual dialogue with the natural world.
Phil’s photographs are collected and exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. 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. In December, 2003 Phil was honored with the Humanitarian Award, receiving the Lucie at the 1st Annual International Photography Awards. In 2005 he was named a Giraffe Hero for his humanitarian work. Phil teaches and lectures internationally and is co-founder of Blue Earth Alliance, a 501c3 that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments.
In 2001 Phil founded Bridges to Understanding, a nonprofit organization that connects middle and high school students in Seattle classrooms with their peers in South Africa, Peru, Guatemala, India, Cambodia and other countries around the world. The mission of Bridges is to use digital technology and the art of storytelling to empower and unite youth worldwide, enhance cross-cultural understanding and build global citizenship. (See Programs for more information.)
Phil graduated from University of California as a Regents Scholar in 1969 and was honored with their prestigious University of California Medal in 2004. He lives with his family in Seattle.