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Photo of the Week: Tomas van Houytve

Photo of the Week - 19.06.15

The closing week of World Press Photo 2015 at the State Library of New South Wales saw first time visitors descend to see what the fuss is about and many visitors returning to take one more look at the breadth of talent showcased amongst the winners and runners-up of this year's contest. For Photo of the week I could have chosen an number of photographs including the work of Turi Calafato (Italy), Glenna Gordan (USA), Yongzhi Chu (China) and Jérôme Sessini (France). Instead I have decided to select a work I felt was intriguing, both visually and conceptually.  

Belgium photographer Tomas van Houytve's series Blue Sky Days offers a striking visualisation of the rise in access to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones), which is highly relevant in today's digitally driven culture. In use by the US military since 2002 to gather intelligence or carry out airstrikes in conflict areas, van Houytve's work uses drones to study US civilians targeting activities such as weddings, funerals and people mid-exercise.

The graphic nature of the images created by the aerial viewpoint, elongated shadows and framing offer a peek into the private lives of everyday people from a position of power that is quite disconcerting. The subjects continue about their daily lives unaware of the intrusion taking place above. George Orwell's fiction 1984 starts to look more and more like a reality. Big Brother is watching!

World Press Photo closes at the State Library of New South Wales on 21 June.


Image: Commissioned by VII for Harper's Magazine. © Tomas van Houytve. 

Source: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/2015/contemporary-issues/tomas-van-houtryve