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.
In advance of the publication of Lines and Lineage by Radius Books, I’m posting selected excerpts. The second excerpt is from my own essay, titled “When Borders Crossed.” This section covers opposition to the Mexican American War and the origin of the California State flag: “In terms of land acquired for the nation, the Mexican American War is the… read more.
In advance of the publication of Lines and Lineage by Radius Books, I’m posting selected excerpts. The first one is the epigraph by John Steinbeck: “Once California belonged to Mexico and its land to Mexicans; and a horde of tattered feverish Americans poured in. And such was their hunger for land that they took the land, stole Sutter’s… read more.
Earlier this year, I was contacted by a representative of Leica to test a top secret new prototype, a drone co-engineered with Yuneec and Leica. I started shooting with analogue Leica cameras in 1998, at the very start of my career. For my projects that require the reportage shooting style, my preferred gear has always been a Leica M… read more.
Divided, my 2018 video installation about the Mexico-U.S. border will be on display at the Annenberg Center for Photography as part of the group exhibition WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine from October 5 to December 29, 2019.
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
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
About the exhibition
Complex, challenging, and immersive, WALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine is a historical look at civilization’s relationship with barriers, both real and imagined. For centuries, across diverse civilizations, walls have been central to human history. This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls – artistic, social, political, and historical – in six sections: Delineation, Defense, Deterrent, The Divine, Decoration, and The Invisible. These categories overlap and change meaning according to context, much like the walls themselves: erected for one reason, their appearance and use is then altered and modified over centuries, reflecting the civilizations that have grown and changed around them.
Featuring over 70 artists and photographers, WALLS invites guests to contemplate how these structures – from the decorative to the divine – affect the human psyche and why we keep building them.
Praise for Divided
“This work took a very simple concept, a border wall between two countries, and visually infused it with all the complexities of the contemporary American debate. The ‘moving picture’ that tells this story, does so in a leisurely way, but clearly one that was thought out and executed with the utmost care and attention to detail. The ‘reveal’, at the end, lingers in your mind.”
– Keith Jenkins, Director of Visual Journalism, NPR; Juror of the 2018 Producer’s Choice Award from CENTER Santa Fe.
“Van Houtryve filmed a short video from above the wall’s end, entitled Divided (2018), which seems almost meditative.”
– Jacqui Palumbo, Visual Culture Editor, Artsy /