Louie Palu: Front Towards Enemy
One of the highlights at the Click Photography Festival was the opening keynote lecture by Canadian documentary photographer and filmmaker, Louie Palu. Louie is a rare combination of artist and war photographer, able to stand present for horrific human events and then synthesize those moments into something artful, poetic, and powerful. His Click Festival installation was set was in the woods of Battle Park on the UNC campus, where he exhibited large scale banners of his portraits of Garmsir Marines. This unit, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was formed 100 years ago to fight in WW1, where they famously took part in the Battle of Belleau Woods. This unit is based in Jacksonville, NC.
At the event, Louie presented his new book, Front Towards Enemy, published by Yoffy Press. This new monograph is a remarkable artful compilation of the affects of war, presented as a deconstructed photobook showcasing the different ways that Louie documented the war in Afghanistan over the course of five years. It comes in a cardboard slipcase with four components: accordion fold image set, soldier portrait cards, newsprint publication, and staple-bound zine. The entire publication can also exist as a pop-up exhibition and it can be pre-ordered here.
Louie Palu, 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.
Louie is an award winning documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in festivals, publications, exhibitions and collections internationally. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Grant, 2011-12 Bernard L Schwartz Fellowship with the New America Foundation and Milton Rogovin Fellowship at the University of Arizona. He is well known for his work which examines social political issues such as human rights, conflict and poverty.
Louie’s work is currently hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in the exhibition Face of Battle which will be on display until January 2018. His work has been exhibited at the Sheldon Museum of Art, the photojournalism festival Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France nine times (2004-11, 13), Internationale Fototage in Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, George Eastman House, Ping Yao Festival, Fotografia International Festival of Rome, Centrum for Fotografi (Sweden), New York Photo Festival, Canadian War Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Annenberg Space For Photography, The Walter’s Art Museum and many others. His work is in numerous collections including the Harry Ransom Center, National Gallery of Art (U.S.), Library and Archives of Canada, Center of Creative Photography, Portland Art Museum, George Eastman House, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, National Gallery of Canada, Library of the U.S. Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections Branch (Quantico, Virginia), Southeast Museum of Photography, Australian War Memorial, Imperial War Museum (London), Museum of Fine Arts Boston and many others.
He is the recipient of numerous accolades including a National Magazine Award, National Newspaper Award nominee, Pictures of the Year International (POYi), Critical Mass Book Award, Hasselblad Master Award, NPPA Best of Photojournalism Award and multiple awards from the White House News Photographers Association, Aftermath Project Grant, Canadian Photojournalist of the Year, Alexia Foundation Photography Grant for World Peace and Cultural Understanding. He was also part of several online multimedia awards including two Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) in 2013-14. In 2015 he was awarded a Ross Munro Media Award and Milton Rogovin Fellowship from the Center of Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Louie has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and the Peter Reed Foundation.
Louie’s work has been featured in the El Pais, La Republica, BBC, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, Al Arabiya, PBS NewsHour, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Daily Mail, Foreign Policy, Paris Match, TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, The Economist, NPR, VOA, Huffington Post, CBC, The Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times Magazine and many others. His work has been featured in numerous books and catalogues on photography. He was selected for the Critical Mass Book award (2006) resulting in the book “Cage Call: Life and Death in the Hard Rock Mining Belt”.
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