Photographer's Aerial Drone Captures A World Of Beautiful Shadows

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Photographer Tomas van Houtryve is an accredited photojournalist who has captured raw human emotions over the years and documented cultural practices through his lens. Now, in an era of revolutionary technology like drones in the hands of the common man, van Houtryve explores how these aerial devices, originally used by the military for airstrikes, are reshaping the landscape of documentary photography.

For a series titled Blue Sky Days, van Houtryve traveled across America with a camera attached to a drone and documented traditional gatherings and events—weddings, funerals, prayer circles. The series draws comparisons to the view a drone used by the military would have in foreign lands.
Students were seen in a schoolyard in El Dorado County, California.

Children play at a birthday party in Sacramento County, California.

People exercised in central Philadelphia.

A playground in Sacramento County, California.

“Tent City” jail in Maricopa County, Arizona.

"Tent City" jail in Maricopa County, Arizona.

A wedding in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Marines in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, prepare for a wreath-laying ceremony in observance of Veterans Day.

Cowboys and cattle in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Baseball practice in Montgomery County, Maryland.

A fire truck and crew respond to a car fire in the Gila River Indian Community in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Blue Sky Days offers a beautiful yet somber perspective of people and places in America. The title itself is inspired by the words of a 13-year-old Pakistani boy who was traumatized by an airstrike. After a drone attack took the life of his 67-year-old grandmother who was picking okra outside her house, Zubair Rehman says, "I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray."

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