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Book Review: Larry Towell, The World From My Front Porch

September 23, 2009

Now this is a book. From publisher Chris Boot and photographer Larry Towell, comes one of the best books I’ve seen.

The paper is different, the look is different, the layout is different, the cover, the fonts, etc, My head is spinning.

I’ve picked this book up three times and found three different books, and I’m sure if I go back for a fourth time, I’ll find another.

Towell, for those of you who don’t know him, is a Magnum photographer from, I believe, Canada. I’m sure when I read the book I’ll figure this out, but I think that is where he comes from.

A farmer. Perhaps an unlikely photographer?

His work is stunning, and I don’t use this word lightly. You can literally feel his life in these images. You can feel his roots, his ties to the land, history and place.

There is a powerful simplicity in these images, a closeness, but coupled with a complex point of view, and knowledge of light and printing. Kids, dogs, land, moments, structures, etc, etc, all there.

The back of the book, a catalog of his editorial spreads from El Salvador and other places. Just look at the work on the Mennonites. Just look at that one spread, on it’s own, as it displays before you page after page of best reportage you will ever see. Really, it’s that good.

Occasionally a book comes along that freaks me out and this one fits that mold.

I can’t wait to really sit down with it, but a part of me is little afraid of it. Like Salgado’s Africa. There are many more but I believe Salgado’s was the last book to freak me out.

I highly recommend this book. Here is the link THE WORLD FROM MY FRONT PORCH

Sorry for the scattered, buckshot review, but like I said, it freaked me out.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. David Wissinger permalink
    September 24, 2009 2:42 am

    1969. My older sister got a Polaroid Swinger for Christmas. She had a party after some fancy Holiday date dance, and the only way she’d let me stay up to see it was if I’d take some pictures. OK. People were diggin’ those pictures, and I was the man because of that camera! Girls were posing for me and I fell in love about a dozen times that night. Pure intoxication. The only love from that night that lasted was my love for photography. Later, my Dad got a serious Polaroid, the one with the bellows that collapsed into a case. I liked the Swinger better. Then he got a 35mm reflex camera, a Canon ftb. Poor Swinger, I probably never used it again. It’s my fault Polaroid’s dead.

    • David Wissinger permalink
      September 24, 2009 3:10 am

      Uggghhh. I’m so sorry. This comment belongs over with the Polaroid article. I’m gonna blame this on a sinus headache that just won’t give up.

  2. September 24, 2009 5:29 pm

    Hey, a comment is a comment. It will find a home. Thanks for writing. I think we all have these Pola moments, stories and histories. Some of us, still have them. I shot a corporate event last night, with Poloroid. Go figure.

  3. David Wissinger permalink
    September 24, 2009 5:43 pm

    So, was it your idea or theirs to use a Polaroid? I mean, that’s not at all the traditional way to do things.

  4. September 24, 2009 5:49 pm


    • David Wissinger permalink
      September 25, 2009 4:41 am

      Post some?

  5. 6by6press permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:37 pm

    the mennonites is my all time favorite…. btw, the world from my porch has been included in my collection.

    • September 25, 2009 9:38 pm

      how great is it that people are buying this book. I think that is the best thing about this blogging endeavor. His work is scary good. I would love to talk with him, seems like an interesting guy.


  1. From a collector’s thoughts on photo books | Michael Fioritto

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