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Tomas van Houtryve is a Belgian documentary photographer and a member of VII Photo Agency.[1]


Life and careerEdit

Van Houtryve attended a university in Nepal and after he graduated from college in 1999, he settled in Kandahar, where he met and photographed inmates and their relatives.[1] Initially, he wanted to be a philosopher but decided to become a photographer. In 2003 he quit working for Associated Press and concentrated on the Maoist rebellion in Nepal.

He has been a member of Panos Pictures.

He has had his work published in Time, The New York Times, Newsweek, Le Figaro, Le Monde, The Independent, GEO, Smithsonian, Stern, Foreign Policy and National Geographic[2] and The Indianapolis Star.[3][1]

In 2012 he published Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism which included his photographs of seven communist nations of the 21st century.

After seven years photographing life in the remaining communist nations, Van Houtryve's interest turned to the US military's use of surveillance drones. Thanks to a Getty Editorial Grant of $10,000,[4] he has been able to use his own drone in the US to explore the implications of surveillance techniques used by the US both outside and within its borders.[5][6]


  • Laos: Open Secret. Self-published (via Blurb), 2011.[7]
  • Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism. Photographs of Nepal, North Korea, Cuba, Moldova, Laos, Vietnam, and China.
    • Prêles: Éditions Intervalles, 2012. ISBN 978-2-916355-65-8. Preface by Tzvetan Todorov.
    • La Lutte continue : voyage dans les communismes du XXIe siècle. Paris: Éditions Intervalles, 2012. ISBN 978-2-916355-64-1. French-language version.
    • Geschlossene Gesellschaften: eine fotografische Reise durch kommunistische Länder. Bern: Benteli, 2012. ISBN 9783716517147. German-language version.


Solo exhibitions (selected)Edit

  • Chute d'un dieu souverain, 18e Festival international de photojournalisme, Visa pour l'image (Perpignan, France), 2006.[13]
  • Rébellion au Népal. Les rencontres prix Bayeux–Calvados des correspondants de guerre; at Galerie le Radar, Bayeux, 2007.[9][14]
  • The fall of a god king. ArtèFoto Festival; at Villa Salvati, Ancona, 2008.[15]
  • Népal: rituels et révolution. Galerie in my room, Paris, 2009.[16]
  • Nepal: A 'people's war' topples the god king. Moving Walls 16. Open Society Foundations (New York, London, and Washington DC), 2010.[17]
  • Behind the curtains: Stories from the last communist holdouts. Visa pour l'image (Perpignan, France), 2010.[18][19]
  • Behind the curtains. Third Floor Gallery (Cardiff, Britain), 2011–2012.[20]
  • Off the radar. Festival-Photoreporter, Baie de Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d'Armor, France), 2012.[21]


  1. ^ a b c "Tomas van Houtryve". VII. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  2. ^ Jody Sugrue and Kate LaRue (November 1, 2013). "Artifacts: Photographer Tomas van Houtryve". National Geographic. PROOF. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  3. ^ Betsy Reason (March 1, 2014). "Indianapolis man arrested in raid". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Rachel Segal Hamilton, "Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography: Tomas van Houtryve", British Journal of Photography, Archived here by the Wayback Machine from the original on September 8, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2014. The page employs Javascript to redirect elsewhere after a few seconds. In order to read it, disable Javascript within your browser before attempting to access the page.
  5. ^ Conor Risch, "Tomas van Houtryve drone essay longest ever published by Harper's", PDN Online, March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Abigail Radnor, "Drones: An eye in the sky", The Guardian, June 7, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  7. ^ Page about Laos, Blurb, Inc.. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award Archived September 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Visa pour l'image. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Exposition du 1er au 28 octobre 2007 : Tomas Van Houtryve : rébellion au Népal - Prix du public en 2006", Galerie le Radar. (in French) Retrieved by the Wayback Machine on October 18, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Winners Gallery: Third Place: Tomas van Houtryve: Panos Pictures: 'Moldova - The Outsiders'", Pictures of the Year International. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  11. ^ Winners Gallery: Photographer of the Year - Freelance/Agency: First Place, Pictures of the Year International. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  12. ^ World Press Photo awards 2015 Contemporary Issues, 2nd prize, stories, Tomas van Houtryve. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Exhibition notice, Visa pour l'image. (in French) Retrieved by the Wayback Machine on November 16, 2006. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  14. ^ Exhibition notice (also appears as a frame within this page Archived December 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine of the Prix Bayeux Calvados site). (in French). Accessed March 21, 2014.
  15. ^ Exhibition notice, ArtèFoto Festival. (in Italian) Retrieved by the Wayback Machine on August 27, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  16. ^ Exhibition flyer. (in French) Accessed via blog of Galerie in my room on March 21, 2014.
  17. ^ Slideshow, Open Society Foundations. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  18. ^ Exhibition notice, Visa pour l'image. (in Catalan) Retrieved by the Wayback Machine on January 7, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "2010: Photographers - Exhibitions", Visa pour l'image. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  20. ^ Exhibition notice Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Third Floor Gallery. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  21. ^ Exhibition notice, Festival-Photoreporter. (in French) Retrieved March 21, 2014.

External linksEdit