Review: The New York Times Magazine, The Unquiet Sky by Teju Cole


The New York Times Magazine reviewed my Blue Sky Days drone project in their July 26, 2015 Sunday Magazine. The article, titled “The Unquiet Sky,” explores the beauty and menace of aerial photography. It was written by award-winning novelist and Times photography critic Teju Cole:


“…The slippage between the domestic and the threatening aspects of aerial surveillance is something the photographer Tomas van Houtryve has explored in his powerful project ‘‘Blue Sky Days.’’ The title comes from the testimony of a 13-year-old Pakistani boy whose grandmother was killed in a drone strike. ‘‘I no longer love blue skies,’’ the boy said, speaking before Congress. ‘‘In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.’’ Houtryve attached a camera to a small drone and traveled around the United States, making aerial photographs of the sorts of events that have been associated with intentional or erroneous drone strikes: funerals, weddings, groups of people at play, in prayer or during exercise. His images show Americans in the course of their daily lives, photographed from a great height, in bright sun that throws their distorted shadows far ahead of them, presenting them as unindividuated, vulnerable and human. Houtryve makes it clear that the people in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia or Afghanistan who are killed by American drones are also just like this. With simple, vivid means, Houtryve brings the war home.

Houtryve’s work has been published in magazines and, meticulously printed in large format, displayed in galleries…”


See the full article as featured in The New York Times Magazine.