Infinity Award winner Tomas van Houtryve on his project "Blue Sky Days".
The fundamentals of warfare are changing in the United States.
Pilots, sitting in a shipping container in Nevada, are waging war all over the world using drones that can stay in the air for days at a time. Their bombs represent an increasingly significant part of the United States global war on terror, and it’s being done largely in secret.
The details and reasonings for these strikes are classified, kept away from the scrutiny of the media.
Tomas van Houtryve wanted to find a way to visualize this war.
“If we don't ever see who are victims are, then that empathy never kicks in.
I want there to be a permanent visual record of the dawn of the drone age, the period in American history when America started outsourcing their military to flying robots,” said van Houtryve.
In order to create this record, van Houtryve sent his own drone into American skies.
“I decided to attach my camera to a small drone and travel across America to photograph the very sorts of gatherings mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen - weddings, funerals, groups of people praying or exercising.
By creating these images, I aim to draw attention to the changing nature of personal privacy, surveillance, and contemporary warfare,” said van Houtryve.
Since 1985, the International Center of Photography has recognized outstanding achievements in photography with its prestigious Infinity Awards. The awards ceremony is also ICP’s primary fundraising benefit, with its revenues assisting the center's various programs.
ICP commissioned MediaStorm to create a short film about each of the recipients to screen at the awards ceremony and to later remain online. The films serve as an introduction of the recipients to the audience as well as a showcase of their work, highlighting the motivations for honoring them with Infinity Awards.