Blog

TV interview: Lines and Lineage and Divided on France 24

A live television interview about my Lines and Lineage exhibition and Divided video installation was broadcast  on France 24 on 27 October 2020. The interview was conducted by Haxie Meyers-Belkin. The works are being currently shown at the Photaumnales festival in France: Lines and Lineage solo exhibition 5 Nov. 2020 — 17 Dec. 2020* Espace Matisse 101/119 rue JB Carpeaux 60100 Creil…  read more.

Interactive Workshop: Aerial Drones for Documentary Photography

  From December 2 to December 7, 2020 I’ll be teaching my first ever online workshop about aerial drone photography. After working with drones for over seven years, I’ll be sharing my experience in partnership with VII Interactive. In 2013, I started using hand-built drones for a National Geographic assignment in Peru and continued with my World Press Photo award-winning…  read more.

Solo show

Lines & Lineage and Divided exhibitions at PHOTAUMNALES in France

The Photaumnales festival is exhibiting my Lines and Lineage prints and my Divided video installation. 

Lines and Lineage solo exhibition
5 Nov. 2020 — 17 Dec. 2020*
Espace Matisse
101/119 rue JB Carpeaux
60100 Creil
France
tel. +33 (0)3 44 24 09 19

Divided video installation
Exhibition: FLUX, le discret et le continu
19 Sept. 2020 — 3 Jan. 2021*
Le Quadrilatère
22 rue Saint-Pierre
60000 Beauvais
France
+33 (0)3 44 15 67 00

*Postponed until further notice due to the COVID lockdown

À propos de Lines and Lineage (English version below)

Lines and Lineage (« Lignes et lignées ») confronte l’amnésie collective américaine au sujet du passé mexicain du Far West. À quoi ressemblait le Far West avant sa conquête par les États-Unis en 1848 ? La frontière mexicaine se situait alors 1100 km plus au Nord. Elle suivait l’actuelle frontière entre la Californie et l’Oregon, courrait à l’Est du Wyoming avant de bifurquer vers la Louisiane. Le Mexique a régné sur ce vaste territoire durant la première moitié du 19ème siècle.

L’invasion américaine s’est produite juste avant que le procédé photographique, dévoilé à Paris en 1839, ne parvienne dans la région. Les représentations visuelles que nous connaissons si bien de l’Ouest américain ont été créées après 1848 : ce sont les photographies célèbres des cow-boys et des pionniers blancs, de la Ruée vers l’Or et de l’arrivée du chemin de fer. En revanche, les images de l’ère mexicaine de l’Ouest n’ont jamais été fixées dans nos mémoires.

C’est donc pour rendre visible cette ère mexicaine remarquable et invisible que Tomas van Houtryve a choisi de photographier le Far West à l’aide d’une chambre photographique à plaques de verre du 19ème siècle. Ses portraits des descendants directs d’habitants d’alors accompagnent, sous forme de diptyques, des prises de vue des paysages de l’ancienne frontière et des ruines de la période mexicaine.

 

About the Lines and Lineage

Lines and Lineage takes aim at America’s collective amnesia of history. The work addresses the missing photographic record of the period when Mexico ruled what we now know as the American West. To visualize the people and places from the remarkable yet unseen Mexican era, I chose to photograph the region with glass plates and a 19th-century wooden camera. Portraits of direct descendants of early inhabitants of the West—mestizo, Afro-Latin, indigenous, Crypto-Jewish—are paired with photographs of landscapes inside the original border and architecture from the Mexican period. Lines and Lineage lifts the pervasive fog of dominant Western mythology and makes us question the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West.

 

À propos de Divided (English version below)

Bien que les frontières puissent jouer un rôle important dans nos vies et avec notre sens de l’identité, ces frontières entre les pays sont impermanentes, artificielles et souvent absurdes. À travers le prisme de la politique contemporaine, les frontières nationales peuvent prendre des significations dramatiques et déformées.

Divided, 2018, est une installation vidéo qui se concentre sur la répétition intemporelle des lignes de vagues de l’océan Pacifique. La frontière entre la Basse-Californie et la Haute-Californie remonte à 1848, lorsque l’armée américaine a saisi la moitié nord du Mexique. Au fil des ans, la frontière a été renforcée d’une ligne imaginaire à une clôture en une barrière en acier qui s’avance dans l’eau.
Des lignes de vagues ont traversé l’océan Pacifique depuis des temps immémoriaux. Maintenant, cette barrière les sépare juste avant d’atteindre le rivage.

 

About Divided

Since Baja and Alta California were divided by the seizure of Mexican land by the United States military in 1848, a political boundary has jutted into the Pacific Ocean. Over the years, the border has been reinforced from a simple line to a fence to steel barrier. This single-channel video installation focuses on the timeless repetition of lines of waves as they crash perpendicular into the barrier. The collision of waves is mesmerizing, and we notice unified lines of waves that are divided in two.

 

Preview video of Divided

 

Review: Lines and Lineage book in Collector Daily

  Collector Daily wrote a very in-depth review of the Lines and Lineage monograph. The article was written by Sabrina Mandanici and is copied below:   Tomas van Houtryve: Lines and Lineage By Sabrina Mandanici / In Photobooks / June 1, 2020 JTF (just the facts): Published in 2019 by Radius Books (here). Clothbound hardcover with four different cover images…  read more.

VII Book Club discussion with Sally Martin Katz of the SFMOMA about Lines and Lineage monograph

 I was invited by the VII Interactive Book Club to discuss my Lines and Lineage book with Sally Martin Katz of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The conversation was originally streamed live online on 3 May 2020. We discussed the inspiration and key message of the book, the 19th-century process employed, and the place of the work…  read more.

Talk

VII Interactive Book Club: “Lines and Lineage” on May 3rd, 2020 at 18:00 CET / 12:00 noon EDT / 9:00am PDT

I’ll be speaking about my latest book, Lines and Lineage, as part of the weekly VII Interactive Book Club. To access this free live event, you can visit the VII Facebook video stream page on May 3rd, 2020 at 18:00 CET / 12:00noon EDT or you can subscribe to the VII mailing list to receive an invitation to the Zoom call.

The book takes aim at America’s collective amnesia of history. The work addresses the missing photographic record of the period when Mexico ruled what we now know as the American West. To visualize the people and places from the remarkable yet unseen Mexican era, I chose to photograph the region with glass plates and a 19th-century wooden camera. Portraits of direct descendants of early inhabitants of the West—mestizo, Afro-Latin, indigenous, Crypto-Jewish—are paired in diptychs with photographs of landscapes along the original border and architecture from the Mexican period. Lines and Lineage also includes historic maps and essays.

This book lifts the pervasive fog of dominant Western mythology and makes us question the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West. Lines and Lineage was awarded France’s prestigious Roger Pic Prize and was selected as a finalist for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. The work was profiled by The New York Times, in Photograph Magazine, and in HyperAllergic. It was published as a monograph by Radius Books in autumn 2019.

 

Register for the Talk »

 

Online Interview and Artist Talk: Leica France “On Air” with Tomas van Houtryve

 Leica Akademie France is hosting online conferences with photographers during the “stay at home” period of the coronavirus outbreak. I was invited to participate on 23 April 2020. In this recording of the French language video-conference, I share my early career path and my methodology for approaching photography projects. You can see more online conferences hosted by Leica France…  read more.

Leica France “On Air” Artist Talk Video-Conference

Leica France has invited me to give an online Artist Talk on Thursday, 23 April at 18:00 (6:00pm CET). The video-conference presentation and Q&A session will be in French. Sign up details below (en français). En cette période difficile, pendant laquelle le seul moyen de moyen de communication et d’échange n’est que “virtuel”, Leica Camera France vous propose des rendez-vous…  read more.

Smithsonian feature: The Invention of Hiking in the Forest of Fontainebleau

The Smithsonian Magazine published my photo series on the 19th century invention of hiking by Claude-François Denecourt in the May 2020 issue. I used my vintage collodion camera and glass plates to make the images in the forest of Fontainebleau. The text by Elaine Sciolino is copied below. SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE | May 2020 The magic of the forest revealed itself…  read more.