Arts & Culture

Larry Towell’s Afghanistan

Magnum photographer Larry Towell presents a moving and in-depth look at the war-torn country in his 2014 publication 'Afghanistan'

Larry Towell

Larry Towell | Afghanistan Ruins of former Russian military base. Kabul, Aghanistan. 2011. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

For thirty years, Afghanistan has known only war. This work was shot between 2008 and 2011, offering a tour de force examination of survival, exile, loss, and recuperation. Here is the war seen from a variety of perspectives—from military camps to domestic interiors—and depicting U.S. and British soldiers, landmine victims, ordinary Afghan citizens, cityscapes, recreation, addiction, and weaponry, as well as a rare series of Taliban portraits.

Larry Towell | Afghanistan A prosthetic patient at the Prosthetics Center, Kabul, Afghanistan. 2011. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | Afghanistan Mullah Moray Aminullah, 33 from Logar who was arrested for preaching against the occupation and claims to have no links with Taliban. Pul-i-Charki Prison, Pul-i-Charki, Afghanistan. 2011. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell Owner and his bird at a cock fighting event in an abandoned warehouse. Kabul, Afghanistan. 2010. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell Ten year old Gul Juma, a Pashtun who lost her arm as well as two sisters during ISAF bombing. Charahi Qambar Refugee Camp, Kabul, Afghanistan. 2011. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

The limited-edition book presents a facsimile of the photographer’s original artist maquette, complete with his handwritten notes and stories, items he collected in the field, and over 350 images, including powerful collages made by Towell. A true art object, this book conveys the complexity of the conflict, which has roots that go deep into historical and tribal grievances.

Larry Towell | Afghanistan Kochi (nomad) landmine victim with tents for sheep and family members. Shomoli Plain, Afghanistan. May, 2009. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

Beautifully produced in a limited edition, this extraordinary object offers an important historical document on present-day Afghanistan seen through its social, political, and environmental landscapes. This project was made possible, in part, with generous support from the Magnum Foundation including gifts from Mary Ann and Frank Arisman, The Fledgling Fund, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

Larry Towell Horse with hand paintings. Kabul, Afghanistan. 2011. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Stay in touch
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.