Larry Towell | Afghanistan

Country of origin: Canada
Project location: Afghanistan
Program: Publications
Year: 2014

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 Beautifully produced in a limited edition, this extraordinary object offers an important historical document on present-day Afghanistan seen through its social, political, and environmental landscapes.