Blog

Group show

Blue Sky Days at BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts Brussels

Blue Sky Days will be on display at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels with large format gelatin-silver prints as part of the Watching You, Watching Me group exhibition from Jan. 25 to Feb. 18, 2018.

 

BOZAR, Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles
Rue Ravensteinstraat 23
1000 Brussel
Belgium

 

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.

 

About Watching You, Watching Me

What right do governments, corporations, and individuals have to collect and retain information on your daily communications? What tools – both today and in the past – have been used to monitor your activities? What are the immediate and far-reaching effects? As governments and corporations around the world expand their efforts to track the communications and activities of millions of people, this not only threatens our right to privacy, but also opens the door for information to be collected and used in ways that are repressive, discriminatory, and chill freedom of speech and expression.

It is in this context of massive information gathering that Watching You, Watching Me – the 22nd installment of the Open Society Foundations’ Moving Walls exhibition – explores how photography can be both an instrument of surveillance and a tool to expose and challenge its negative impact. In tackling the inherent difficulty of visualizing something that is meant to be both omnipresent and covert – seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time – the artists in this exhibition employ a dynamic range of approaches. Together, these 10 artists provide a satellite-to-street view of the ways in which surveillance culture blurs the boundaries between the private and public realm. These projects raise important and provocative questions about the role of privacy in preserving our basic freedoms and rights.

Watching You, Watching Me: A Photographic Response to Surveillance is curated by Stuart Alexander, Susan Meiselas, and Yukiko Yamagata.

 


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
•  TIME’s Top 10 Photos of 2014
•  Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant
•  Pulitzer Center Grant
•  Getty Grant

 

 

Podcast Interview: Blue Sky Days Solo Show at Vartai Gallery in Vilnius and Thoughts on Social Media and Photography

In a 40 minute podcast interview with Berta Tilmantaitė of Nanook, I spoke about my motivation and approach for the Blue Sky Days project that is currently on exhibition at Vartai contemporary art gallery in Vilnius, Lithuania. We also discussed the place of social media and photojournalism in our shifting media landscape, and how my Traces of Exile project helps reframe…  read more.

30 of 30 Eddie Adams Workshop

I’m please to have been selected as one of the 30 of 30 of the Eddie Adams Workshop. For the past 30 years, 100 emerging photographers have been nominated each year to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop and get coaching from key figures in the industry. To mark the anniversary, the organizers selected 30 accomplished alumni from amongst the past…  read more.

Hasselblad Foundation Research and Development Award

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been selected for an award from the Hasselblad Foundation. The Hasselblad Foundation has partnered with the Valand Academy for the Drone Vision project and honored five photo-based artists with a research and development award. This award is part of a broader research project, led by Dr Sarah Tuck, exploring the affects and implications of drone…  read more.

Solo show

Blue Sky Days at Galerija Vartai in Vilnius

 

Blue Sky Days gallery exhibition 7 Sept. to 14 Oct. 2017

 

Galerija Vartai
Vilniaus g. 39
Vilnius
Lithuania
galerija@galerijavartai.lt
tel. +370.5.212.2949

 

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
•  TIME’s Top 10 Photos of 2014
•  Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant
•  Pulitzer Center Grant
•  Getty Grant

Workshop: Paris in the Age of Instagram, June 10, 2017

  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.

CatchLight Fellowship announcement

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.

Group show

Traces of Exile at REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles

Video installation of Traces of Exile on show at the REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles, from March 25 to June 4, 2017, part of the group exhibition It is obvious from the map.

REDCAT Gallery
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
USA

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 talk

Panel discussion at the ICP Museum in New York City

Panel discussion on Nationalism, Networks, Borders: Refugees in Visual Culture and Social Media

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:30 to 8:30 pm

ICP Museum
250 Bowery
New York, NY 10012
USA

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.

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