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A Photoville Conversation with Tomas van Houtryve: 'Connecting Photography and Social Impact'

Event Date:

September 15, 2018 | 3:00 PM EDT


Under the Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park
60 Water Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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The Pulitzer Center Catchlight Media fellow, Tomas van Houtryve, reports on the U.S.-Mexico border...

Image by Tomas van Houtryve.
Image by Tomas van Houtryve.

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, CatchLight fellow Tomas van Houtryve discusses promoting social change through the arts at Photoville 2018's "How Do We Focus Our Gaze? Connecting Photography and Social Impact" panel.

He is one of several Pulitzer Center-supported photographers whose works are on display at Photoville 2018, including via the CatchLight exhibition titled "Focal Points: Featuring the 2017 Catchlight Fellows." 

With a grant from the inaugural CatchLight Fellowship partnership between the Pulitzer Center and CatchLight Media, van Houtryve travelled along the pre-Mexican War Southern border, using 19th-century photography methods to document the land as it is today. He then went to the current border and used surveillance technology to explore how photography has been weaponized in the modern era.

The resulting Pulitzer Center-supported project, "Lines and Lineage," imagines what the history of the Mexican-American border might have looked like at the time of the area's Mexican administration, and questions the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West.

After studying philosophy, van Houtryve developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. In 2002, he was the first photographer to document the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay. He returned to Nepal in 2004 to photograph the Maoist rebellion. The resulting photos earned him the Visa pour l'Image-Perpignan Young Photographer Award and the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents.

Other honors for van Houtryve include POY Photographer of the Year and World Press Photo.  He has been a member of the VII Photo collective since 2010.


teal halftone illustration of a family carrying luggage and walking


Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees