Laurence Salzmann

Laurence Salzmann is a native of Philadelphian who has worked as a photographer/filmmaker since the early 1960’s.  His projects document the lives of little-known groups in America and abroad.  Salzmann’s photographic method is deeply informed by his background in anthropology and involves long-term participation and observation of groups or events.  His work illustrates how life and events are shaped by the environment and conditions in which people live.

Echele GanasA Life Left Behind focuses, for the most part, on the village of Tonalapa, Puebla. It is typical of the many hundreds of villages that are located in Mexico’s Sierra Norte de Puebla (a region in the Puebla State, nearly 100 km long, by 50 km wide), for elderly farmers to practice marginal agriculture because of the mountainous terrain. Lack of jobs necessitate younger people to leave their villages in search of better economic opportunities. In the last two decades, paths of migration changed from nearby Mexican cities, to major metropolitan cities in the United States, including Philadelphia. In Echele Ganas, the villagers tell their personal stories.

Laurence Salzmann’s film integrates narrative with stunning photographs of people and little-known landscapes. It is an eye-opening journey that informs viewers about the traditional, as well as the changing lifestyle of these remarkable people of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

Film Credits
Film Length 72 minutes
In Spanish with English subtitles
Producer/Director Laurence Salzmann
Editors; James T. Rowland and W.W. McManus
Translations: Enrique Sacerio-Gari and Ana Uribe V.
A Blue Flower Film Production

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Events and Programs

Echele Ganas: Do Your Best Gallery Opening
Opening Reception: Saturday, Friday, April 27, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Laurence Salzmann will display photographs documenting the lives of the people in the small village La Sierra del Norte in Puebla, Mexico.  A free opening reception at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on April 27 will kick off the De Pueblo a Pueblo festival.  Echele Ganas will be on display through June 16.


Echele Ganas: A Life Left Behind Film Screening
Monday, April 30, 8:00 PM
Ibrahim Theater at International House
3701 Chestnut Street
Admission: $5

This documentary from award winning photographer/filmmaker Laurence Salzmann focuses on the village of Tonalapa, situated in the northern region of the state of Puebla. The village is a microcosm of the many hundreds of villages that are located in Mexico’s Sierra Norte de Puebla, a region nearly 100 km long by 50 km wide, and extends into the state of Hidalgo from where thousands of Mexicans have made their way in recent years to the United States in search of work. In Échele Ganas, villagers tell their stories in a series of interviews using their own vernacular language. While the older villagers reminisce about their lives and the history of their culture, younger people speak about employment in the United States and the effects of their labor on the Sierra Norte de Puebla region. The narrative of Échele Ganas, paired with Salzmann’s stunning photographs, allows viewers of all cultures to better understand the remarkable people of Sierra Norte de Puebla.

(Mexico/USA, 2012, 72 min, Spanish w/ English Subtitles)


“Still Photography and Moving Image” Workshop

Wednesday, May 2, 7PM
Scribe Video Center
4212 Chestnut Street, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fee: $20. $10 for Scribe members

Inspired by the photographic essay, photographer/filmmaker Laurence Salzmann will present his model for filmmaking, using examples from his previous projects. Of interest to both filmmakers and photographers, Salzmann’s approach borrows methods from his previous study with legendary filmmakers Tim Asch, John Marshall and folklorist Alan Lomax, to tell visually stunning and compelling narratives from often-overlooked communities.

For more information, please call 215-222-4201 or register online.

Opening reception for Echele Ganas: De Pueblo en Pueblo
Saturday, May 5 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

Opening reception for select photographs by Laurence Salzmann, entitled Echele Ganas: De Pueblo en Pueblo at Casa Monarca. There will also be a screening of Salzmann’s film Echele Ganas: Do Your Best. Photographs will be on display from April 16 – May 20.


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