The Mennonites • Larry Towell • Magnum Photos

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The Mennonites

American photographer Larry Towell documents the daily life of the people who belong to the Protestant Mennonite sects in Canada and Mexico

Larry Towell

Larry Towell | The Mennonites Mennonites. Zacatecas, La Batea, Mexico. 1994. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Casas Grandes Colonies. Mennonites. Chihuahua, Mexico. 1992. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Mennonite girl sitting at a table. La Batea, Zacatecas, Mexico. 1992. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites La Batea, Zacatecas, Mexico. 1994. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites La Batea, Zacatecas, Mexico. 1994. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Cuauhtemoc Colonies, Mennonite Farmland. Chihuahua, Mexico. 1997. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Mennonites in the Cuauhtémoc Colonies. Mexico. 1992. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Capulin, Chihuahua, Mexico. 1996. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Ontario, Lambton County, Canada. 1990. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Ontario, Lambton County, Canada. 1995. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Casas Grandes Colonies. Chihuahua, Mexico. 1990. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Breaking in a horse for the buggy. Zacatecas, La Batea, Mexico. 1996. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos
Larry Towell | The Mennonites Chihuahua, Mexico, 1990. © Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

Larry Towell first encountered the Mennonites near his home in Ontario, Canada, and his friendship with them has gained him unique access to their communities. Originating in Europe in the sixteenth century, the Mennonites are a Protestant religious sect, related to the Amish.

Rather than compromise their way of life, they have continually been forced to migrate around the world to maintain their freedom to live as they choose. The greatest numbers are now found in Mexico, and many live or regularly migrate to work in rural Canada. Towell has been photographing Mennonites in Canada and Mexico for over ten years, and this collection, “The Mennonites”, creates a unique and intimate portrait of an often misunderstood people. In addition to his images, Towell’s own texts tell in poignant and descriptive detail his experiences with the Mennonite communities: the harshness and poverty of their rural existence, the disciplines and contradictions of their religion, their hunger for land and work, and the constant struggle to keep the modern world at bay.