Indecisive Moments is the personal video diary of Magnum photographer Larry Towell, made in the Occupied Territories.
It bridges the gap between artist and journalist, bringing the viewer inside Towell’s highly stylized world.
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In the Wake of Katrina
Between September 3 and 11, 2005, photographer Larry Towell, accompanied by Southern novelist Ace Atkins, traveled along the coast of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, documenting the dramatic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Towell’s are not loud news pictures, but haunting and poetic landscapes many of them – panoramas as well as photographs that depict the lives of
ordinary people amidst the devastation. It is an intimate, documentary record of the hurricane’s impact and a tribute to human endurance. For his afterword, Ace Atkins revisits the scenes of Towell’s photographs nine months on, reflecting on how the communities of the coast have been able to rebuild their lives.
Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, with more than one quarter of its population infected. Some 130,000 children have been orphaned or made vulnerable by the death of one or both of their parents. With so many infected, AIDS is impacting every aspect of life in Swaziland.
Land & Identity
“It started when I went to Nicaragua and saw how the Contras were pretty much trying to wipe out the farming cooperatives. I didn’t feel I could change anything but I felt I had to say something. So I went back, got a camera, a cheap tape recorder and a rucksack.”
It was an interest in human rights issues that led Larry Towell to photograph “the culture of resistance”. He recorded the effects of the Contra war in Nicaragua in 1980′s, the war in El Salvador, the mothers of “The Disappeared” in Guatemala, the rebellion in the Chiapas region of Mexico.
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict he finds another twist on a theme that intrigues him: What happens to a people when they lose their land.
“If there is one theme that connects all my work, I think it’s that of landlessness – How land makes people into who they are and what happens to them when they lose it and lose their identities.”
Train of Thought
In the first days of 2009, Israel launched a massiv air invasion of the Gaza Strip, home of a million and a half Palestinians, dropping 40.000 pounds of explosives in the first week. The pretext of the campaign was to end militant rocket fire into Southern Israel. Nearly 1,300 Palestinians were killed, of whom 412 were children, and thousands of homes were reduced to rubble. In early March, International donors pledged nearly $4.5 billion in reconstruction aid.
On April 3, 2002, the Israeli Defense Forces had launched a similar assault on Jenin refugee camp, home to some 14,000 Palestinians. At least fifty-two Palestinians were killed and more than a quarter of the camp’s population were left homeless. Larry Towell photographed the aftermath.
With more than 5.5 million people living with HIV, South Africa remains the country with the highest number of infected people in the world.
The World From My Front Porch
When I was an adolescent, my father once scolded me for wanting to drive to Florida with a friend. It was too far from home, and I would be corrupted by the distance. I was 16. He hated travel. The world was his front porch and it made him who he was.
The ten million landmines scattered across Afghanistan were not only of Russian origin, but also American, Iranian, Czechoslovakian, Pakistani, Italian, and Egyptian. They were sold to whomever would buy them. Added to these are the 125,000 flying landmines, the cluster bomblets dropped by the U.S. at the beginning of the war, followed by a plague of insurgent IEDs today. In spite of aggressive demining operations, Afghanistan remains the heaviest mined country in the world, and the war, the largest obstacle to clearance.
Hungry In America
Six million Americans, sixty years and older, do not have enough to eat. Concentrations of the elderly and hungry turn up in surprising spots, such as Tuolumne County, California, where one in five residents seeks food aid. Tuolumne used to be gold mine and lumber country. Now, each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists rush through to Yosemite National Park, oblivious to the growing number of people who have taken up residence in the empty trailers and homeless camps that dot the area. Larry Towell and audio journalist Sandy Tolan visited those residents to witness the difficult decisions they have to make to survive.