Pulitzer Center photographer grantee Tomas van Houtryve joins photojournalism professor Ken Light and his visual storytelling students on Monday, November 6, 2017, at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of Campus Consortium programming. The two-hour session occurs before a campus-wide lunch event with van Houtryve and Kem Sawyer, Pulitzer Center contributing editor, who also will talk about the international reporting fellowship opportunities for students.
Van Houtryve is a Belgian documentary photographer and a member of VII Photo Agency since 2010. His major works interweave contemporary concepts, investigative journalism and metaphor, occupying the fertile intersection between art and pure documentary. Many of his projects push the technical limits of photography, from 19th century chemical processes to thermal imaging and Augmented Reality.
In 2012, van Houtryve received his first Pulitzer grant to finish his project Borderland: In the Shadow of North Korea that examines the North-South Korean border and the DMZ. He visited North Korea twice prior to his Pulitzer Center grant. He decided that his scripted scenes were not telling the full story and he began to photograph the landscape and mood of the North Korean banks as an outsider looking in.
He subsequently received two more Pulitzer Center grants for his projects Blue Sky Days and Traces of Exiles. Blue Sky Days explores the increase in drone surveillance and commercial usage, as well as weapon usage for the U.S. military in places like Pakistan. His project Traces of Exile reveals the digital footprints left by refugees that have been geo-tagged to a specific place. By combining their photos shared through social media apps, he captures the intersection of their online identities and places of exile.