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Towell, Larry

Websites:  No
Origin: Toronto, Ontario

Larry Towell's business card reads 'Human Being'. Experience as a poet and a folk musician has done much to shape his personal style. The son of a car repairman, Towell grew up in a large family in rural Ontario. During studies in visual arts at Toronto's York University, he was given a camera and taught how to process black and white film.

A stint of volunteer work in Calcutta in 1976 provoked Towell to photograph and write. Back in Canada, he taught folk music to support himself and his family. In 1984 he became a freelance photographer and writer focusing on the dispossessed, exile and peasant rebellion. He completed projects on the Nicaraguan Contra war, on the relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala, and on American Vietnam War veterans who had returned to Vietnam to rebuild the country. His first published magazine essay, 'Paradise Lost', exposed the ecological consequences of the catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound. He became a Magnum nominee in 1988, and a full member in 1993.

In 1996 Towell completed a project based on ten years of reportage in El Salvador, followed the next year by a major book on the Palestinians. His fascination with landlessness also led him to the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico, an eleven-year project completed in 2000. With the help of the inaugural Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, he finished a second highly acclaimed book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2005, and in 2008 released the award-winning The World From My Front Porch, a project on his own family in rural Ontario where he sharecrops a 75 acre farm.


1972/76 Visual Arts, York University, Canada


2009 The World From My Front Porch, Top ten best photo books of 2008, Photo-Eye
2009 The World From My Front Porch, And/or Photography Book Award(Kraszna-Krausz Foundation, UK- shortlisted)
2009 The World From My Front Porch, One of “50 Best” photo books of the year. Festival Of The Photograph. Charlottesville, Virginia.
2008 One of the year’s best pictures, Photo District News
2007 Achievement In Filmmaking Award, New York Independent Film And Video Festival
2007 Alicia Patterson Award (USA, Finalist)
2006 PDN Photo Annual: One of the year’s best projects
2005 Prix Nadar (for No Man's Land)
2003 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award
2002 Roloff Beny Book Award
2001 1st Prize, British Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Award
2000 Society for News Design Award, La Nacion
2000 Photo-eye Award, Citation of Excellence
1999 Hasselblad Foundation Award
1999 Roloff Beny Book Award
1999 Picture Of the Year (Best Use of Photography in Books)
1998 1st Prize, Alfred Eisenstadt Award
1998 ‘Pictoral’ Prize, Pictures of the Year Foundation, University of Missouri
1998 Overseas Press Club, New York, Citation of Excellence
1998 Society of Publication Designers, Magazine of the Year,"The New York Times"
1998 Society of Publication Designers, Merit Award, "The New York Times Magazine"
1997 Golden Light (Best Monograph Award)
1996 Oscar Barnack Award
1996 El Mundo Award
1995 Ernst Haas Foundation Award
1994/95 Gold Medal, Canadian National Awards
1994 Picture of the Year, Canon Photo Essay Award
1994 World Press Photo, 1st Prize in category ‘Daily Life Stories’, 1st Prize in category
‘General News Stories’
1994 Premier Photo of the Year, World Press Photo
1993 1st Prize in category ‘Daily Life Stories’, World Press Photo
1991/93 Gold Medal, Western Canada Magazine Awards
1991 W. Eugene Smith Foundation Award
1991 Silver Medal, Canadian National Awards


2008 George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
2008 Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto
2007 University Of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington KY, USA
2007 Arthur Ross Gallery, Pennsylvania, USA
2006 FOAM, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2005 No Man's Land - Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France
2004 Alice Austin Museum, New York City, USA
2003 The Caixa Forum, Barcelona, Spain
2003 Oratorio del Caravita, Rome, Italy
2003 Kunsthalle Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany
2002 Canada House (Canadian High Commission) London, UK
2001 National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
2001 Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Canada
2000 London Regional Art Gallery, London, UK
1998 Aubenades de la Photographie, Aubenas, France
1997/00 Galeries FNAC, national tour, France
1997 Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Groningen, Netherlands
1997 Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain
1994 Retrospective - Nieuwekerk, the Netherlands
1994 Carnets de Voyage - Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa,
1991 Le Mois de la Photo - Maison de la Culture Plateau, Montreal, Canada


The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
The National Archives Of Canada, Ottawa
Archive Of Modern Conflict, London, UK
Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris, France.
L’Hoist Collection, France
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Teutloff Collection, Bielefeld, Germany
Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA
National Gallery, Canada
The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada
Galerie du Chateau d'Eau, France
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, USA
Noordelicht Collection, Gronigen, Holland
The Ernst Haas Memorial Collection, Portland Museum of Art,USA
Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin,USA
Ecole Sup "le 15", Belgium
FNAC, France
Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Art
Toronto Photographer's Workshop, Canada


2008 The World From My Front Porch, Chris Boot UK
2008 The Cardboard House, Trolley, Italy
2006 In The Wake Of Katrina, Chris Boot, UK
2005 No Man's Land, Marval, France; Chris Boot, UK
2000 The Mennonites, Phaidon, UK/France
1999 Then Palestine, Marvel, France
1997 El Salvador, DoubleTake Books/W.W. Norton, USA
1994 House on Ninth Street, Cormorant Books, Canada
1992 The Prison Poems of Ho Chi Minh, Cormorant Books, Canada
1990 Somoza's Last Stand, Williams: Wallace Publishers, Canada
1988 Gifts of War, Coach House Press, Canada
1983 Burning Cadillacs, Black Moss Press, Canada


1997 Larry Towell, Fundacion Caixagalicia, Spain.
1988 Gifts Of War, Art Gallery Of Windsor, Windsor, ON

Group Catalogs

2003 Foundation HCB, Paris France, 2003
2001 Spirit of Religion, Photographic Centre, Skopelos, Greece
1997 Printemps Palestine, AFAA, France
1997 The Garden of Eden, Noorderlicht Festival, Holland
1996 America Observed, 92nd Street Y, NYC
1994 Carnets de Voyage, CMCP, Ottawa
1994 Bambini de Guerra, Contrasto, Milan, Italy
1990 Le Mois de la Photo, Montreal, Que

Periodicals and Magazines

The New York Times Magazine
Photo District News
American Photography
LIFE Magazine
TIME Magazine
Rolling Stone, USA
Das Magazine
Bilanz, Switzerland
Profil, Austria
Max, Germany
Paris Match
Le Monde
Elle, France
Photo Italia, Italy
La Revista, Spain
Canadian Geographic, Canada
Playboy, Japan
The Telegraph
The Independent on Sunday, Granta, UK
The Paris Review, USA

Discography & Films

2008 The Bike Ride (video installation)
2008 Video Montage (George Eastman House video installation)
2008 The World From My Front Porch (audio CD)
2008 Indecisive Moments (Video Diary Of A Still Photographer) (45 minute DVD)
2005 The Dark Years (audio 2 CD set)
2005 No Man’s Land (installation video)
2005 No Man’s Land (ambient audio CD)
2004 Mary’s Accordion (video)
2004 The Mennonites (audio CD)
1979 Feathers And Bones (LP)


2008 George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
2008 Contact Photo Festival, Toronto, ON
2008 Cheeky Monkay. Sarnia. On
2007 University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
2006 Camera, Toronto, ON
2006 George Eastman House, Rochester
2004 Camera, Toronto, ON
2003 Emily Carr School Of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC
2002 Harbourfront Center, Toronto, ON
2002 Sarnia Library Theatre, Sarnia, ON
2000 Hanover College of the Arts, Hanover, Germany
2000 London Regional Art Gallery, London, ON
1998 Maine Photographic Workshops, Portland, ME
1998 National Union Of Journalists, Copenhagen, Denmark
1998 University Of Windsor, Windsor, ON
1998 Elvehjem Museum Of Art, Madison, Wisconsin
1997 International Center Of Photography (ICP), NYC
1997 Interfoto Conference, Moscow, Russia
1997 Kiosko Alfonso, La Coruna, Spain
1997 Nororderlicht Photo Fetival, Gronigen, The Netherlands
1994 National Geographic Annual Conference, Washington, DC

Film Screenings & Festivals

2009 Toronto Palestinian Film Festival
2008 Independent Film Center, New York City
2008 Copenhagen DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark
2007 Camera, Toronto
2007 New York Independent Film and Video Festival, NYC
2007 Annual Palestinian Film Festival, London, ON
2007 Paraty Photo Festival, Paraty Brazil



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