Description

Photographer Larry Towell first encountered the Mennonites near his home in Ontario, Canada, and his friendship with them 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.

If there's one theme that connects all my work, I think it's that of landlessness; how land makes people into who they are and what happens to them when they lose it and thus lose their identities

Larry Towell
© Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

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

In 1984, he became a freelance photographer and writer focusing on the dispossessed, exile and peasant rebellion. Significant bodies of work include the Nicaraguan Contra war, the relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala, ten years of reportage in El Salvador, and an 11-year project on the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico. He became a Magnum nominee in 1988 and a full member in 1993.

© Larry Towell | Magnum Photos

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