A distinguished jury comprised of James Estrin (The New York Times), Christopher Anderson (Magnum Photos), Arianna Rinaldo (Cortona On The Move Festival), and Roberto Huarcaya (Centro de la Imagen de Lima) has awarded Tomas van Houtryve the PMH 2015 Grant first prize ($2000) for his series Blue Sky Days.
Reflecting on the darker uses of photography in the twenty-first century, with a specific focus on the American drone war, Tomas van Houtryve’s Blue Sky Days considers the tools of state power and the gap in public understanding of contemporary imaging technologies. To open up a visual narrative on these issues, van Houtryve deployed his own drone – equipped with a high resolution camera – above the skies of America and captured scenes reminiscent of those targeted by the US military during their conflicts in Pakistan and Yemen. The resulting images bring clandestine war and the growing nature of surveillance into common consciousness.
Blue Sky Days was selected as the winner from 994 entries by Christopher Anderson, photographer and member of Magnum Photos; James Estrin, co-editor of The New York Times Lens Blog; Arianna Rinaldo, Director of Cortona On The Move Festival; and Roberto Huarcaya, Director of Centro de la Imagen de Lima. Estrin said of the winning series: “Blue Sky Days is one of the most important photo essays done in the last few years. It tackles issues that are very difficult to photograph but central to modern existence – privacy, government intrusion, and modern antiseptic warfare.”
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In the press release
Executive Director Mark Lubell is quoted, “We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2015 Infinity Awards. We look forward to honoring this incredible group of artists, who demonstrate the range of image-making today. Using tools as diverse as drones, transmedia installations, and a Rolleiflex—they show us the power of the image to offer new perspectives, inspire discussion, and communicate ideas.”
ICP’s Infinity Awards were inaugurated to bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries. The awards ceremony is ICP’s primary fundraising benefit, and the revenues generated assist the full range of our programs, including exhibitions, collections, community outreach, and the School at ICP.
The awards will be presented on Thursday April 30th at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, NYC.
More info here »
Tomas Van Houtryve was honored with the 3rd prize distinction for his drone photography story, “Blue Sky Days,” in the Contemporary Issues category of the 2015 World Press Photo Awards.
“Several thousand people have been killed by covert U.S. drone strikes since 2004. The photographer bought his own drone, mounted a camera and traveled across the United States looking for situations similar to those mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen, including weddings, funerals, and groups of people praying or exercising. He also flew his camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields and the U.S.-Mexico border.”
View the full series here.