Blue Sky Days gallery exhibition 7 Sept. to 14 Oct. 2017
Vilniaus g. 39
Starting in 2013, I traveled across America to aerially photograph the kind of gatherings that have become habitual targets for drone strikes abroad — including weddings, funerals, and groups of people praying or exercising. I also flew my camera over settings where government surveillance drones have been used domestically.
In October 2012, a drone strike in northeast Pakistan killed a 67-year-old woman picking okra outside her home. At a U.S. Congressional hearing held in Washington in October 2013, the woman’s 13-year-old grandson, Zubair Rehman, spoke to a group of lawmakers. “I no longer love blue skies,” said Rehman, who was injured by shrapnel in the attack. “In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.”
The images captured from the drone’s perspective engage with the changing nature of surveillance, personal privacy, and war.
The production of Blue Sky Days was supported with grants from the Pulitzer Center, and was first published by Harper’s magazine as a 16-page spread, the largest photo essay in the magazine’s 166-year history.
Praise for Blue Sky Days
“Blue Sky Days is one of the most important photo essays done in the last few years. It tackles issues that are very difficult to photograph but central to modern existence — privacy, government intrusion and modern antiseptic warfare.”
- James Estrin, Editor of the The New York Times LENS blog
“With simple, vivid means, Houtryve brings the war home.”
– Teju Cole, Photography critic for The New York Times Magazine
“Conceptual in nature, grounded in metaphor, and presented in gorgeous black and white, his series Blue Sky Days sure looks like art.“
– Jordan G. Teicher, critic for Photograph Magazine
Honors for Blue Sky Days
• ICP Infinity Award
• World Press Photo, Second Prize
• Photographic Museum of Humanity, First Prize
• White House News Photographers Association, First Prize
• POYi Award of Excellence
• TIME’s Top 10 Photos of 2014
• Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant
• Pulitzer Center Grant
• Getty Grant
One-day practical workshop, ‘Paris in the Age of Instagram’ Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 10am to 6pm. How can you take an original photograph in what is arguably one of the most photographed cities in the world? I’ll help you find your photographic voice and push your creative limits. I’ll challenge you to unlock your inspiration when taking photographs… read more.
I’m pleased to announced that I have been selected for an inaugural CatchLight Fellowship in partnership with the Pulitzer Center. Below is the official announcement: More than 300 photographers from around the world applied for the first annual CatchLight Fellowship and three have been chosen for their exceptional talent in visual storytelling for social engagement, innovative distribution of photography, creative… read more.
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
About Traces of Exile:
The ongoing crises in the Middle East have uprooted millions of people, yet new technology allows them to keep connected to their home communities and loved ones in unprecedented ways. The smartphone has become the essential travel companion of the 21st century refugee. Apps help migrants navigate through unfamiliar lands, stay in touch with their family and friends, contact smugglers, and even document their daily lives with selfies and posts to Instagram.
How does a refugee’s life in exile differ from his or her presence online? How does their portrayal of themselves differ from how they are depicted in the Western media?
Inspired by an Augmented Reality app that layers the smartphone camera view with nearby social media posts, this project reveals the digital traces of refugees that have been geo-tagged to a specific place, capturing the intersection of their online identities and places of exile.
About It is obvious from the map:
The show examines the role of maps and map-making in the current migration crisis between zones of conflict around the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. It is obvious from the map is organized by Thomas Keenan and Sohrab Mohebbi.
Panel discussion on Nationalism, Networks, Borders: Refugees in Visual Culture and Social Media
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:30 to 8:30 pm
New York, NY 10012
Joanna Lehan, curator of “The Flood: Refugees and Representation” section of Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change, leads a conversation with Carne Ross, founder and executive director of the Independent Diplomat, and Tomas van Houtryve, an artist, photographer, and author whose piece Traces of Exile is included in Perpetual Revolution.
This is a free event, but please register in advance. ICP Members have access to the best seats at our public programs in our reserved members’ section.
Tomas van Houtryve’s participation in the public program has been made possible through the support of the Pulitzer Center.
Artist talk about State surveillance and the visual landscape of war.
Thursday, March 16 at 6:00 pm
Museum für Fotografie
The International Center of Photography Museum (ICP) has acquired Traces of Exile for their permanent collection. This is the first time the ICP has ever acquired a video installation for their collection, which contains more than 100,000 still photographs spanning the history of photography, from daguerrotypes to digital chromogenic prints. Traces of Exile (2016-2017) is a single-channel 15-minute video installation.… read more.
Richard B. Woodward, New York art critic for the Wall Street Journal, reviewed the “Perpetual Revolution” group exhibition at the International Center of Photography Museum (ICP), featuring my Traces of Exile video installation. Below is an excerpt from the review: “…The section on refugees opens with a wall of black-and-white photographs by Robert Capa and Chim ( David Seymour )… read more.
Blue Sky Days will be exhibited at the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography in Dhaka from Feb. 3 to 16, 2017.
Chobi Mela IX Festival
Pathshala South Asian Media Institute
About Blue Sky Days:
In October 2012, a drone strike in northeast Pakistan killed a 67-year-old woman picking okra outside her house. At a briefing held in 2013 in Washington, DC, the woman’s 13-year-old grandson, Zubair Rehman, spoke to a group of five lawmakers. “I no longer love blue skies,” said Rehman, who was injured by shrapnel in the attack. “In fact, I now prefer grey skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are grey.”
With my camera attached to a small drone, I traveled across America to photograph the very sorts of gatherings that have become habitual targets for foreign air strikes—weddings, funerals and groups of people praying or exercising. I also flew my camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields, and the US-Mexico border. The images captured from the drone’s perspective engage with the changing nature of surveillance, personal privacy and war.
. . .
Chobi Mela, the international festival of photography since its inception in 2000 has been the single biggest photography event in Asia and the first of a regular biennale, one that has become one of the highlights of the Asian calendar. It is organised by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. The Ninth edition of Chobi Mela will be held from February 3rd to February 16th, 2017.