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.
The New Yorker featured video that I filmed on the streets of Paris, France in late March 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The French magazine, Fisheye, reviewed and featured my Lines and Lineage book in their February 2020 issue. The web version of the article, written by Michaël Naulin, is copied below in the original French: L’album manquant de l’histoire américaine “Le projet Lines and Lineage de Tomas van Houtryve illustre à travers des portraits de descendants une période méconnue de… read more.
Renowned visual artist Renate Aller selected Lines and Lineage as her Favorite Photo Book of 2019. Her endorsement can be found on PHOTO-EYE and is copied below: In his exceptionally beautifully printed book, Lines and Lineage, Tomas van Houtryve recontextualizes and corrects the narratives and mythologies of the Far West as they had been mis-presented in the American awareness… read more.
I’ll be leading a nocturnal Photo Walk in the Saint Germain des Près neighborhood of Paris in partnership with Leica France on Friday, December 13th from 6:30 pm until midnight. The walk is limited to a maximum of eight participants. The full description in French is below: Informations : “Promenade nocturne dans Saint Germain des Près avec Tomas Van Houtryve”… read more.
PHOTO-EYE has selected Lines and Lineage as their book of week. The review by Arista Slater-Sandoval is copied below: Book of the Week: Selected by Arista Slater-Sandoval Lines and Lineage Photographs by Tomas van HoutryveRadius Books, Santa Fe, USA, 2019. 10×12″ When parents and grandparents share stories with us that have been passed down from generation to generation, it illuminates and… read more.
My Lines and Lineage book will be publicly released on Saturday, 9 November, 2019 at the Paris Photo fair. Starting at 2:00 pm, I will be signing books alongside historian Carrie Gibson, who contributed an essay to the book.
Booth SE-02, Radius Books
Avenue Winston Churchill
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. The book also includes historic maps and essays.
You can read the following text excerpts from the book:
Published by Radius Books in 2019. 136 pages with duotone photos. All text in Spanish and English. Four covers available. ISBN: 9781942185628
If you are unable to attend the book signing, some signed copies are available for order directly from Radius Books.
Seventeen prints of Lines and Lineage is on exhibition at the PHOTOLUX FESTIVAL in Lucca, Tuscany from 16 November to 8 December 2019 along with the other finalists of the 2019 Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Annunziata dei Servi
Piazza dei Servi
Hours: Monday – Friday 15:00 – 19:30 / Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 19 :30
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. The work will be published as a monograph by Radius Books in Autumn 2019.
Reviews and praise for Lines and Lineage
“…Using a North American map from 1839 (the same year that photography is thought to have made its debut in Europe), Mr. van Houtryve traveled along Mexico’s old northern border to meet families who have lived in the region for centuries.
His equipment in the Instagram age? A 19th-century camera he found in a Paris antique shop. He stocked up on the glass plates and pungent potions needed for the wet-collodion process, a technique invented in 1851. Doing so, Mr. van Houtryve conjures what the West may have looked like in the Mexican era…”
“His portraits are carefully researched and historically relevant – all of his subjects are descendants of the area’s original Mexican inhabitants. Quiet and dignified, the images pay tribute to Nadar, whose powerful portraits Van Houtryve admires. He focuses on his subjects’ eyes, conveying a sense of their interior life. He presents the work in diptychs that juxtapose portraits with romantic landscapes, reflecting an intimate connection between humans and nature…”
“…Photographing the descendants of families who live on the once-Mexican territory, Van Houtryve proves their existence within a dominant narrative that often ignores them. Using traditional nineteenth century photographic techniques, like wet plate glass negatives, the artist taps into the aesthetic of the 1800s…”
Artist interview video
In advance of the publication of Lines and Lineage by Radius Books, I’m posting selected excerpts. Most of the individuals photographed for the book also agreed to in-depth interviews about their identity and their family’s history. This is an excerpt from the interview of Liz Wallace, an indigenous woman of Nisenan Maidu and Diné descent. “So what happened was… read more.