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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Larry Louie

Born:  Hong Kong
Active:  Global
Optometrist and documentary photographer whose work reflects his interests in eyecare and the prevention of blindness. His series "Global Blindness - A Preventable Tragedy" was carried out in conjunction with his work for Seva Canada.

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Larry Louie
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Artist Statement: Our Vanishing Cultures
I developed an uncontainable curiosity about other cultures and other places while growing up in a Canada. It is this curiosity and my love for photography that have taken me all over the world. I am always amazed by the ethnic and cultural diversities, the different languages, customs and beliefs I would come across in my travels. My photographs allow me to share with others the diversity and beauty of the world I see.
Yet over the years, I have encountered a pressing urgency to see and document places and people in areas of the world that are threatened by urbanization and globalization. Places where traditional ways of life, ancient knowledge and customs, languages and cultural identities are vanishing at an unbelievable rate.
All over the world, people are talking about endangered species and the loss of bio-diversity in nature. It was only recently that many of us has noticed the loss of the bio-diversities of our cultures. Industrialization and urbanization are not only wiping out animal and plant species, but cultures that have been around for thousands of years are also rapidly becoming extinct. In fact, many governments, whether through ignorance or greed, believe that they are doing these cultures a favor by bringing them into the 21st century.
Through travel, we learn to develop tolerance and appreciation of others and ourselves. I have come to realize that our world and the people in it, with their different beliefs, customs, and languages are in fact all interconnected. When a culture disappears from this world, we have in fact extinguished a part of ourselves and a part of our past. By documenting these vanishing cultures, I hope my photographs will inspire others to take note and appreciate the wonders of these people and their traditions.
Artist Statement: Global Blindness - A Preventable Tragedy
FACT: Every 5 seconds a person in the world goes blind.
FACT: Every minute a child in the world goes blind.
FACT: Two out of three blind people in the world are women and young girls.
FACT: Ninety percent of the world’s blind people live in developing countries.
FACT: Three quarters of global blindness is treatable or preventable.
As an optometrist and documentary photographer, I am very much aware and concern about the problem of blindness in the world. Over the next decade, the need for effective global blindness prevention and treatment programs will become increasing urgent as the number of people in need is rapidly outstripping the eye care services available to them. It is estimated that the number of blind people in the world will increase from 45 million today to 75 million by 2020. Even more disturbing is the fact that two out of three blind people in the world are women and young girls, with most of them living in areas of developing countries where they have limited access to sight restoring services. In Oct. 2008, I had the opportunity to work with SEVA Canada in documenting one of their eye care projects in Africa. Seva Canada is a non profit organization which provides funding and expertise to partners in developing countries to create sustainable, economically viable, locally managed eye care programs that will continue to serve local populations long after Seva’s involvement is complete.
At the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) in Tanzania, Seva Canada has partnered with a program founded by Dr. Paul Courtright and Dr. Susan Lewallen in 2001 - Helping Africa Help Themselves. Not only does KCCO provide outreach eye care programs to rural area, it has become a major teaching and research hospital and resource center for sub-Saharan Africa. Their program on gender equity is unparallelled in the region.
This part of my website is a compilation of images of the programs that SEVA Canada supports around the world in the pursuit of fulfilling the goals of Vision 2020, the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, and the battle for gender equality in eye care.
2009 PDN - World in Focus Competition, Finalist
2008 National Geographic Traveler Photo Competition, Finalist
2008 Asian Photography Magazine (APAC Edition), Nov. 2008 - Feature Photographer
2008 Black and White Spider Awards, Nominee/Finalist
2008 PX3, First Place - People’s Choice Award
2007 Photo Lucida - Critical Mass, Finalist
2007 PX3 Human Condition, Honorable Mention
2007 TYOTY - Travel Photographer of the Year (U.K.), Runner up - One Planet, Many Lives
2007 Tibetan Grasslands Series, National Geographic Magazine - English Language Contest, First Place - Photo Essay
2007 American Photo Magazine: Finalist
2007 World in Focus Exhibition: PDN Photoplus New York
2007 National Geographic Traveler: Annual Photo Contest, Merit Award
2007 Conde Naste Traveler Magazine, Grand Prize Travel Photo Winner
2007 IPA - International Photographer Awards, Discovery of the Year Award, Photographer of the Year - People, Photographer of the Year - Feature Story, Photographer of the Year - Children
2007 IPA - International Photography Awards / Lucie Award, Discovery of the Year Award, Lucie Award Ceremony, Lincoln Center, New York
2007 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, First Place: Photojournalism - Nature, People’s Choice Award - Portraiture - Children
2006 IPA - International Photographer Awards, Honorable Mentions
2005 Best of the Show 2005 Exhibition, Farmani Gallery of Contemporary Photography (L.A.)
2005 IPA - International Photography Awards / Lucie Award, First Place - Travel and Tourism
2005 National Geographic Magazine Traveler Magazine: 17th Annual Photo Contest, Second Place
2005 Edmonton Art Gallery: 100 Years / 100 Pictures Exhibition, Third Place  
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