Larry Towell (b. Chatham, Ontario, 1953) is Canada’s first photographer to be associated with Magnum, the world’s most prestigious photo agency, which was founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa in 1947.
In 1976, after completing a Visual Arts degree at York University in Toronto, Towell volunteered in Calcutta where he began photographing and writing. In 1984, he became a freelance photographer and writer. He completed projects on the Nicaraguan Contra war, on the relatives of the disappeared in Guatemala, and on American Vietnam War veterans who had returned to Vietnam to rebuild the country
In 1996, Towell completed a project based on ten years of reportage in El Salvador, followed by a major book on the Palestinians. His fascination with landlessness also led him to the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico, an eleven-year project completed in 2000. After receiving the inaugural Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, Towell finished a second highly acclaimed book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2005.
Towell’s photo stories have been published in many international magazines including; LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Rolling Stone, GEO, and Stern. He has had numerous one person and group exhibitions across Europe, the U.S., and Canada, and is in many public and private collections internationally.
Towell has won many international photo awards including the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award (first recipient); the World Press Photo of the Year; The Hasselblad Award; The Alfred Eisenstadt Award; The Oskar Barnack Award; and the first Roloff Beny Book award for his 1997 monograph entitled El Salvador, amongst others. He is also a gifted writer and musician and is the author of three CDs as well as Indecisive Moments (2008), an award winning short film.
He currently sharecrops a 75-acre farm in rural Ontario where he lives with his wife and two of his four children.