TOMAS VAN HOUTRYVE is a photographic artist and author who engages critical contemporary issues around the world.

Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. Immediately after graduation in 1999, he devoted himself fully to photojournalism, starting out with the Associated Press in Latin America. He was the first AP photographer to cover the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in 2002 he traveled to Kandahar to photograph families of the Guantánamo inmates.

Tomas left AP in 2003 to concentrate on large-scale personal 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, and Laos. The series won the 2012 POYi World Understanding Award.

In 2013 Tomas began working on Blue Sky Days, a drone’s-eye view of America. Images from the project were first published in Harper’s as the largest photo portfolio in the magazine’s 164-year history. The series was awarded the 2015 ICP Infinity Award and honors from POYi, World Press Photo, the Photographic Museum of Humanity, and the White House News Photographer’s Association.

Tomas has had solo exhibitions of his work in Paris, New York City, Spain and Italy. His work is included in multiple private collections in Europe, Asia and the United States and in the permanent collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Open Society Foundations. Many of his photographs of intense political actions are distinguished by their intimacy.

Tomas is frequently interviewed on radio and television and has appeared on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, ARTE and France 5. He is a member of VII Photo since 2010.



Blue Sky Days in Bayeux, France Oct-2015
Blue Sky Days in Cortona Italy Jul-2015
Blue Sky Days in Barcelona Jul-2015
Borderline North Korea Nov-2013
Castaways of the Marshall Islands Oct-2012
Behind The Curtains of 21st Century Communism Jul-2012
Behind the Curtains Aug-2010
Behind the Curtain May-2009
Nepal | Rituels & Revolution Feb-2009


2015 ICP Infinity Award
2015 World Press Photo Award, 2nd
2015 Photographic Museum of Humanity, 1st
2015 White House News Photographers Assoc., 1st
2015 POYi Award of Excellence
2014 TIME's Top 10 Photos of 2014
2014 Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant
2014 Pulitzer Center Grant
2013 Getty Images Grant
2012 Pulitzer Center Grant
2012 POYi World Understanding Award
2012 Saint Brieuc Festival Grant
2012 IoS Photography Books of the Year
2012 POYi Best Book Award, Finalist
2011 Leica Oskar Barnack Prize, Finalist
2011 Magnum Foundation Grant
2010 POYi Photographer of the Year, 1st
2008 Hearst Fellow, Univ. of Colorado
2008 Amnesty Human Rights Award
2008 Photographer of the Year, 2nd
2008 POYi Award of Excellence
2008 Alicia Patterson Fellowship
2007 Amnesty Human Rights Award
2007 POYi Award of Excellence
2006 Perpignan Young Photographer
2006 Bayeux War Correspondents Prize
2006 POYi Award of Excellence
2006 Days Japan Jury Prize
2006 PDN's 30