Louie
Palu

 Louie Palu

biographY


Canadian photographer and filmmaker, born in 1968, based in Washington DC (USA)

After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Louie Palu went to New York City in 1991 on a summer scholarship and then interned with documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark. He then began his career as a freelance photographer, initiating an ongoing collaboration with The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading national newspaper, where he was staff photographer from 2001 to 2007.

Marked by the history of his parents, Italian immigrants who witnessed the violence and trauma of the Second World War, he developed a documentary photography attentive to contemporary socio-political issues, considering that his “role as a photographer is to monitor power and document issues related to human rights, poverty and conflict. I try to use the simplest photographic approaches and equipment free of gimmicky effects. I believe in ethical, direct, raw and unabashed images.”

It is in this perspective that he travels to the field to testify about the living and working conditions in the mining regions of Ontario and Quebec (Cage call), as well as the war in Afghanistan (Fighting season, Garmsir Marines, Void of War and Kandahar Journals, 76 min, 2015), the conditions of detention in Guantanamo (Guantanamo), the drug war on the US-Mexico border (Mira Mexico), the geopolitical evolution of the Arctic and its militarization (Distant Early Warning) or the war in Ukraine (Zero Position, 86min, 2022). Based in Washington DC, he documents in parallel and in the long term the American politics – in particular the consequences of Trump’s presidency and the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th 2021 (Political Year Zero).

Regularly exhibited around the world and published in international media (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The National Geographic Magazine, TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, Le Figaro, Paris Match, La Repubblica, El Pais), he is the author of seven monographs and two feature-length documentaries. His work has been awarded prestigious prizes (including World Press Photo, several Pictures of the Year International and NPPA Best of Photojournalism) and research grants related to photography (Pulitzer Center, Guggenheim Foundation, University of Texas, etc).

SEries


Political Year Zero, 2019-ongoing

Series | This project is an insightful and long-term approach to chronicling the course of events leading to the American insurrection of January 6, 2021.

Distant Early Warning, 2015-ongoing

Series | The project Distant Early Warning shows the gradual militarization of the Arctic, documenting legacies of the Cold War and increased military presence. Changes in the region have been exacerbated by other issues, in particular by global warming.

Afghanistan, 2006-2010

Series | Between 2006 and 2010, Louie Palu made several visits to Afghanistan, the country where the US-led coalition was deployed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Cage Call, 1991-2003

Series | “Cage Call: Life in the Hard Rock Mining Belt,” documents the people, land, and work in the mining region of Northern Canada.

Political Year Zero, 2019-ongoing

Series | This project is an insightful and long-term approach to chronicling the course of events leading to the American insurrection of January 6, 2021.

Distant Early Warning, 2015-ongoing

Series | The project Distant Early Warning shows the gradual militarization of the Arctic, documenting legacies of the Cold War and increased military presence. Changes in the region have been exacerbated by other issues, in particular by global warming.

Afghanistan, 2006-2010

Series | Between 2006 and 2010, Louie Palu made several visits to Afghanistan, the country where the US-led coalition was deployed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Cage Call, 1991-2003

Series | “Cage Call: Life in the Hard Rock Mining Belt,” documents the people, land, and work in the mining region of Northern Canada.

Political Year Zero, 2019-ongoing

Series | This project is an insightful and long-term approach to chronicling the course of events leading to the American insurrection of January 6, 2021.

Distant Early Warning, 2015-ongoing

Series | The project Distant Early Warning shows the gradual militarization of the Arctic, documenting legacies of the Cold War and increased military presence. Changes in the region have been exacerbated by other issues, in particular by global warming.

Afghanistan, 2006-2010

Series | Between 2006 and 2010, Louie Palu made several visits to Afghanistan, the country where the US-led coalition was deployed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Cage Call, 1991-2003

Series | “Cage Call: Life in the Hard Rock Mining Belt,” documents the people, land, and work in the mining region of Northern Canada.

MultimEdia


Zero Position, 2022

Films | Canadian filmmaker and photographer Louie Palu's "Zero Position" offers a stark snapshot of war’s devastation in Eastern Ukraine.

Kandahar Journals, 2015

Film | Kandahar Journals is the story of a photojournalist who reflects on the events behind his psychological transformation after covering front line combat in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010. He begins writing a series of journals reflecting on his personal experiences and what the war looked like and felt to him. The more he covered the war, the more he realized the disconnection that exists.

Zero Position, 2022

Films | Canadian filmmaker and photographer Louie Palu's "Zero Position" offers a stark snapshot of war’s devastation in Eastern Ukraine.

Kandahar Journals, 2015

Film | Kandahar Journals is the story of a photojournalist who reflects on the events behind his psychological transformation after covering front line combat in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010. He begins writing a series of journals reflecting on his personal experiences and what the war looked like and felt to him. The more he covered the war, the more he realized the disconnection that exists.

Zero Position, 2022

Films | Canadian filmmaker and photographer Louie Palu's "Zero Position" offers a stark snapshot of war’s devastation in Eastern Ukraine.

Kandahar Journals, 2015

Film | Kandahar Journals is the story of a photojournalist who reflects on the events behind his psychological transformation after covering front line combat in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010. He begins writing a series of journals reflecting on his personal experiences and what the war looked like and felt to him. The more he covered the war, the more he realized the disconnection that exists.

Interviews


PBS Newshour show
WETA

Interview by Jeffrey Brown, 2019

Meeting with Louie Palu for the installation “Artic Passage” at the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas. Composed of photographs frozen in large blocks of ice, this work aims to denounce the melting of the Arctic ice.

Artist portrait : Louie Palu
National Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Interview by Warren Perry, 2013

Interview with Louie Palu about the Smithsonian Institution’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, for which he submitted the photograph “Night Raid” taken in Afghanistan in 2010.

The Globe and Mail

Interview by Deborah Baic and Melissa Tait, 2020

Louie Palu talks about the challenges of photographing the Arctic during his 24 trips to the region.

The POV Interview : Louie Palu on ‘Kandahar Journals’
Point of View Magazine

Interview by Vincenzo Pietropaolo, 2015

“Kandahar Journals is a fascinating, fast-paced documentary about Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban in 2006-2010, from the perspective of internationally renowned photojournalist Louie Palu.

Louie Palu Talks Global Conflict
George Mason University

Interview by Rashad Mulla, 2013

Louie Palu was invited by George Mason University to speak about his engagement and practice as a war photographer.

Exhibitions


« Cage Call »

Ryerson Image Center, Toronto (CANADA)

Dates to be announced

« Distant Early Warning »

Audain Art Museum, Whistler (CANADA)

10 June – 06 September 2021

« Distant Early Warning »

Visa pour l’image, Perpignan (FRANCE)

31 August to 15 September 2019

« Arctic Passage »

Harry Ransom Center, Austin (ÉTATS-UNIS)

12 March 2019

BOOKS


Mira Mexico

The New America Fondation - 2012

Cage Call

Photolucida - 2005

Mira Mexico

The New America Fondation - 2012

Cage Call

Photolucida - 2005

Mira Mexico

The New America Fondation - 2012

Cage Call

Photolucida - 2005

awards


World Press Photo 2022, Long Term Projects Award for “Political Year Zero”

These images examine and provide an overview of the context of the 6 January attack, when pro-Trump protesters invaded the Capitol in Washington DC.

2022

NPPA Best of Photojournalism 2019, First Place “Environmental Picture Story”

Images from his project “Distant Early Warning”.

2019

Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Portraiture

Images from his ice block installation project called “Arctic project” presented for the first time at “South by Southwest” 2019.

2019

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

Image from his project “Distant Early Warning”.

2016

Pictures of the Year International, 2nd Place Portrait category

Portrait from the series “Mira Mexico”.

2013