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“I became a photojournalist by going to Central America”

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

The Canadian photographer Larry Towell, who earns my lasting respect for being photographed with kittens, talks about his life and work in this video at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Go see it.

Larry Towell

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m surprised to find I didn’t blog this before, but here are two videos on/by the Canadian photographer Larry Towell. He lives in southwestern Ontario, so I’ve always thought of him as a kind of local hero.

Towell works exclusively in black and white, and says he isn’t interested in digital photography, a luxury you can afford when you’re Larry Towell. I’ve always been drawn to the wonderful, luminous quality of his photos, which is apparent in the second video.

Towell & Gilden in Haiti

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The ever-useful Photojournalism Links today led me to Magnum’s galleries of photos from Haiti by the Canadian photographer Larry Towell (who lives, in global terms, right around the corner from me) and by Bruce Gilden, who is probably best known for his New York street photography.

That, thought I, is about as strange a juxtaposition as you’re likely to see.

Towell comes across as a photographic hippie: he writes poems, plays folk music, lives on a farm, and is photographed overrun by kittens. His photography is quiet and subtle, gentle to its subjects and to the viewer. Although he has photographed wars in Central America and in the Middle East, he seems never to have photographed a battle; he specializes in aftermaths.

Gilden is in your face on a Manhattan street with his flash popping. Watching Gilden at work provokes, among Internet blowhards, the suggestion that on photographing the blowhard, Gilden would find himself missing teeth. (Gilden appears to have all his teeth.) His photography is provocative and confrontational, overlit and marked by the harsh shadow thrown by his flash.

My first reaction: the last thing any earthquake survivors would appreciate would be having Gilden walk up and pop his flash in their face from two feet away.

Towell’s galleries are here and here.

Gilden’s is here.

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