AfghanistanPhotographs by Larry Towell
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For thirty years, Afghanistan has known only war. Renowned Magnum photographer Larry Towell presents a moving and in-depth look at the country, whose citizens and landscapes are affected by conflict on a daily basis. Towell, a veteran conflict reporter, has also worked in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Palestine, and Israel. 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. 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. Beautifully produced in a limited edition, this extraordinary object offers an important historical document on present-day Afghanistan seen through its social, political, and environmental landscapes.
Larry Towell (born in Ontario, Canada, 1953) studied visual arts at York University in Toronto. His work focuses on issues of unrest, identity, and “landlessness,” and includes extensive coverage of social, political, and military conflict in Central America, the United States, Mexico, and Palestine. He became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1993. His books include El Salvador (1989), Then Palestine (1998), The Mennonites (2000), In the Wake of Katrina (2006), and World From My Front Porch (2008).