Born and raised in Los Angeles, Marissa Roth is an internationally published freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer. She works on assignment for various prestigious publications including The New York Times, and has covered riots, earthquakes and a coup attempt in the Philippines as well as the first post-communist elections in Hungary. She is passionate about the news stories she covers which include the Kosovar Albanian refugees in Albania, Afghan refugee women in Pakistan, and the homeless in Japan. Roth was part of The Los Angeles Times photography staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for Best Spot News Coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Feature stories are her hallmark and range from the Richard Serra installation at MOCA, to the Cannes Film Festival.
Roth’s first 10-year solo book project was "Burning Heart, A Portrait of the Philippines", published in 1999. Marissa teaches at various academic institutions including her alma mater, UCLA. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and a number of images are in museum, corporate and private collections. In 2000, she completed a documentary photography project commissioned by the Los Angeles Public Library, entitled “Inside/Out: Downtown Los Angeles”, that illuminated the cultural and ethnic diversity of downtown Los Angeles that culminated in a book in 2001. “Come the Morning”, a children’s book, is illustrated with 20 of Roth’s photographs of homelessness.
Roth's commissioned portrait project to photograph the Holocaust survivors who volunteer at The Museum of Tolerance/Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Witness to Truth,” is on permanent exhibition at the museum and a book is forthcoming. Roth has also completed 2 long-term projects, the first, “One Person Crying: Women and War,” a 30-year photo essay that addresses the lingering impact of war on women in different cultures around the world; and another book, “Infinite Light” that is a photographic meditation on Tibet. "One Person Crying: women and War", the exhibition, debuted at The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, in August of 2012, and will be available for travel through 2016.
"Infinite Light: A Photographic Meditation on Tibet" is a collection of color photographs that captures the subtle beauty and profound spirituality of this ancient culture. A limited edition book of this work was published in April 2014, and a traveling exhibition has also been prepared. H.H. the Dalai Lama wrote the foreword, and Arthur Ollman wrote an introduction to the exhibition.
“Marissa Roth’s images of women who’ve survived war are alternately disturbing, inspiring and illuminating of the staggering burdens borne by those fighting with their hearts and minds to protect home and family. The battle to restore normalcy drags on for years after the shooting stops, and women’s forced roles as provider and protector forever transforms their relationships and family status when the men, whether victorious or vanquished, stagger back home.” —Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times senior international affairs writer
“Marissa Roth has brought a compassionate vision and understanding to the women she presents to us. Her photographs and collected stories are compelling documents of lives both physically and psychically altered by these experiences. Roth approaches her subjects with an empathetic eye and heart, and portrays them with dignity and respect.”—Howard Spector, Exhibition Curator of "One Person Crying: Women and War"