About the Book
Larry Towell photographed the Old Colony Mennonites in rural Ontario and Mexico between 1990 and 1999. The resulting black and white photographs—accompanied by an extensive text drawn from diary notes and ‘the silt of the memory’—formed Towell’s landmark book, The Mennonites, first published in 2000. This revised and updated second edition revisits the project and includes 40 previously unpublished photographs.
The Mennonites, originating in 16th century Holland, are non-conformists and have traditionally separated themselves from the world by living in settlements, or colonies, set apart from society at large. This project focuses on the Old Colony sect, the most conservative and insular sect, engaged in an ongoing battle with modernism which seeks to
change and absorb them. Rather than compromise their way of life, Mennonites have continually been forced to migrate around the world to maintain their freedom to live as they choose. Publisher’s Info
-> Further information: https://gostbooks.com/product/the-mennonites/
About the Artist
Larry Towell (born 1953, Canada), was the son of a car repairman and grew up in a large family in rural Ontario. He studied visual arts at Toronto’s York University where he was given a camera and taught how to process black and white film. Following volunteer work in Calcutta in 1976 he began to photograph and write. Upon his return to Canada he taught folk music to support himself and his family, and became a freelance photographer and writer in 1984, focusing on the dispossessed, exile and peasant rebellion when he completed testimonial projects on the Nicaraguan Contra war and the relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala.
In 1996, Towell completed a project based on ten years of reportage in El Salvador, followed the next year by a major book, Then Palestine. With the help of the inaugural Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, he finished a second highly acclaimed book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2005, and in 2008 released the award-winning The World From My Front Porch, a project on his own family in rural Ontario where he sharecrops a 75-acre farm. Afghanistan was released in 2014 based on six years of reportage on that war.
Larry is also a gifted musician and song writer.
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Header Photo: Durango Colony, Durango, Mexico, 1994 © Larry Towell / Magnum Photos.
Founded in 2012, GOST Books is an independent visual arts and photography publisher based in London. They aim to not only provide a platform for the work of emerging artists but contribute to print legacies of masters in the medium.