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Magnum photographer Larry Towell has spent much of the last ten years photographing Mennonite communities in rural Ontario and Mexico. Starting with a friendship he made with a Mennonite family he met near his own home in Ontario, he has had a unique access to their lives, gradually being introduced to the wider community and making trips to visit the colonies in Mexico. Mennonite culture does not usually permit photography, so his comprehensive study represents a unique and most important photographic survey of the their way of life -- a way of life that may soon have changed beyond recognition.
In addition to the photographs, Towell's own text tells in poignant and descriptive detail anecdotes of his experiences. With an artist's eye he paints a picture of the lives of these people: the harshness and poverty of their rural life, the disciplines and contradictions of their religion, their hunger for land, for work, and for the freedom to live the way they choose.
The photographic content is of the highest quality and would easily justify a book of images alone. The text in addition, very atmospheric in the tradition of Steinbeck, makes the book an unusually successful and complete portrait of a way of life, and more than just a photography book.
This definitive collection of Towell's most important work -- ten years in the making -- has been eagerly anticipated by his followers.
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