‘In 1989, I discovered them in my own back yard, landhungry and dirt poor. They came looking for work in the vegetable fields and fruit orchards of Lambton, Essex, Kent and Haldimand-Norfolk Counties. I liked them a lot because they seemed otherworldly and therefore completely vulnerable in a society in which they did not belong and for which they were not prepared. Because I liked them, they liked me, and although photography was forbidden, they let me photograph them. That’s all there was to it.’
Larry Towell photographed the Old Colony Mennonites in rural Ontario and Mexico between 1990 and 1999. The resulting black and white photographs—accompanied by an extensive text drawn from diary notes and ‘the silt of the memory’—formed Towell’s landmark book, The Mennonites, first published in 2000. This revised and updated second edition revisits the project and includes 40 previously unpublished photographs.