"Too Young to Die’ is a long-term documentary photography project . . . that seeks to enlighten the public about the effects of youth violence on young victims, their families, and society as a whole. It is an effort to shake the country’s conscience in a way that most mainstream media—hyper-commercialized and celebrity obsessed—no longer do. My interest is to get beyond the headlines, beyond the fear and sensationalism, and create understanding of the true costs that are borne by the victims of this violence, and, in the final analysis, by all of us. The purpose of my project is to personalize the stories of youth, families, and individuals who are affected by violence in a profound way. These stories are not about hip-hop, rap music, or teens wearing saggy pants. These stories are about poverty, despair, neglect, hope, love, and resilience."
- Carlos Javier Ortiz