Blue Sky Days gallery exhibition 7 Sept. to 14 Oct. 2017
Vilniaus g. 39
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