TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Past Events

Thursday Night Photo Talk w/ Louie Palu

New Documentary Work & the Environment

September 10, 2020

New Documentary Work & the Environment

Louie Palu is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on social and political issues such as war, human rights and poverty.

Palu’s work has appeared in festivals, publications, exhibitions and collections internationally. He is a 2016-17 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Grant, the 2011-12 Bernard L Schwartz Fellowship with the New America Foundation and the Milton Rogovin Fellowship at the University of Arizona. In 2019, his work was selected for the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture. Palu is a National Geographic Explorer, and is currently working on a long-term project on the Arctic in partnership with the National Geographic Magazine and National Geographic Society.

Personal History + Philosophy

I was born in Canada to poor Italian Immigrant parents. My mother was a seamstress who worked on an assembly line at a sewing machine making coats while pregnant with me. My father was a stonemason who worked in construction. My parents where born before the Second World War and grew up witnesses to the violence of the war. I grew up hearing stories of trauma and poverty in my family and was taught to always be in touch with your roots. This became the basis of all my choices of subject matter as a documentary photographer. I believe that what I do is not a career, but a way of life and belief system. Consequently, I feel as though my role in the world as a photographer is to monitor power and document social political issues relating to human rights, poverty and conflict. I try to use the most simple of photographic approaches and equipment free of effects and gimmicks. I believe in ethically produced, straightforward, raw, unflinching images.

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