In 2017, the Pulitzer Center partnered with CatchLight Media on a $30,000 fellowship awarded to “creative leaders in the field of visual storytelling who have demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to depict and bring awareness to challenging social issues." Van Houtryve was one of three photographers selected by Catchlight’s judging panel, which includes Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer. He is reporting on the U.S.-Mexico border using historical photographic techniques alongside cutting-edge surveillance technology. Learn more about the inaugural 2017 Catchlight Fellowship.
For the fellowship, van Houtryve explores the pre-1848 border between the United States and Mexico, using a wooden camera and photographic processing techniques from the mid-19th century to re-imagine a time when all of California and most of the far west was Mexican territory. The second phase of his project documents developments along the current U.S.-Mexico border using surveillance imaging technologies and further exploring the “weaponization" of photography.