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Camera as Catalyst Presents Larry Towell

Co-authored by Matt Shor

Larry TowellInternationally acclaimed Magnum photographer, Larry Towell, recently featured his most popular bodies of work in a talk at American University as part of the Camera As Catalyst series co-sponsored by the Center for Social Media and the School of Communication. Towell, whose business card reads ‘Human Being’, is part poet, part folk musician, part photographer and part social activist; all of which provides a unique perspective as he focuses his lens on documenting human rights issues around the globe. 

Towell’s presentation provided a unique viewing experience of his works; combining field recordings and original songs into a photomontage that gave a wide view of his time spent abroad and the bond he shares with each of his subjects, “I go to connect, I empathize with the other guy. That’s how I am.” Whether it’s the El Salvadorian rebels, a colony of Mennonites, or even his own family, Towell provides an intimate viewpoint that isn’t easily overlooked.

Overall, Towell’s collection of photographs deals with the idea of Land, Landlessness, and their interaction with identity. Towell believes that photography is a “psychological ticket to enter life and explore it.” This exploration of identity is evident throughout Towell’s work and in his own beliefs, “It’s really about making sense of your own life. Photography allows you to explore who you are.”