In context : an examination of Larry Towell's work No man's land from the twin perspectives of maker and user
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 12:00 by Stefanie Petrilli
Photojournalist Larry Towell is the only Canadian member of the prestigious Magnum Photos Agency. Over the span of his career he has concerned himself primarily with issues of land and landlessness and has engaged in a number of long-term projects documenting the human stories amid political and religious conflict in Central America and the Middle East; he has also chronicled the migrant Mennonite workers of Mexico. This thesis focuses specifically on Towell's work photographing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in No Man's Land, a book project that was accompanied by newspaper and magazine publications, exhibitions, a video, audio CDs, public performances and multi-media projects. The extensive dissemination and documentation of Towell's work from No Man's Land offers an opportunity to examine a cohesive body of work in a number of forums and see how the context in which photojournalistic images appear can subsequently affect their meaning. This thesis undertakes a thorough examination of the photographs from No Man's Land in the context of the book, the printed press and exhibitions, considering the intent of the photographer in relation to audience perception of the work. With the new direction in photojournalism leading toward more subjective and self-reflexive projects and with expanding opportunities in digital and art worlds, it is essential that context and presentation be thoroughly understood to ensure the integrity of the issues and the photographer's intent.