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Internationally recognized as one of the leading photographers of his generation, Tomas van Houtryve documents critical contemporary issues around the world.

Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas discovered his interest for photography while enrolled in an overseas program in Nepal. Upon graduation in 1999 he was hired by the Associated Press and posted to Latin America.

Tomas left AP in 2003 to concentrate on large-scale projects, starting with the Maoist rebellion in Nepal. The resulting photos of the rebels’ rise to power earned wide recognition including the Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan Young Photographer Award and the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents.

In 2006 Tomas was named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers. He was awarded an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 2008, and in 2010 he was named the POYi Photographer of the Year.


Tomas’ first monograph book, Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism, was published in Spring 2012. The seven-year-long project documents life in the last countries where the Communist Party remains in power: North Korea, Cuba, China, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos and Moldova. The series won the 2012 POYi World Understanding Award.

Solo exhibitions of Tomas’ work have been shown in Paris, New York City, Spain and Italy. Many of his photographs of intense political actions are, paradoxically, distinguished by their intimacy.

Tomas’ pictures and writing appear regularly in publications worldwide, including TIME, The New York Times, Newsweek, Le Figaro Magazine, Le Monde, The Independent Magazine, GEO, Stern, Smithsonian, Foreign Policy and National Geographic.


Open Secret


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North Korean escapees are witnesses to the most closed and totalitarian society on earth. Most [...]

Cuba: Cynical Realism

On January 1st, 1959, as Fidel Castro’s guerrilla movement advanced through Cuba, General [...]

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