Viewing Record 2 of 6 artist: van Houtryve, Tomas

A man wades into the Tae Dong river where banks are flooded

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
    van Houtryve, Tomas
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Inkjet print
  • Dimensions:
    image/paper: 16 in x 24 in
  • Credit Line:
    Museum purchase


About the Photographer

van Houtryve, Tomas

Belgian, b. 1975

For the past seven years, Tomas van Houtryve has been photographing the remaining communist states. In 2007 and 2008, he gained unprecedented access to North Korea, first by traveling under an assumed identity with a far-left solidarity delegation and later by posing as a businessman seeking investment opportunities in the chocolate industry there. While ordinary visitors are not allowed to leave their hotels without the permission and presence of government guides, Van Houtryve was permitted to photograph with some measure of freedom. Traversing the length of the country, he documented what outsiders before him could not: dilapidated infrastructure and barren farmland, ordinary workers and secret military installations, model schools, hospitals, and foodstuff factories, even the elite military academy in Pyongyang. His photographs tell unofficial narratives of daily life in North Korea, revealing the gulf between the high ideals of communism and its present-day realities.

Tomas Van Houtryve was hired by the Associated Press after completing his philosophy degree in 1999. He has held solo exhibitions at Nikola Rukaj Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2016), Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona Catalonia, Spain (2015), FotoWeek DC, Washington, DC (2013), VII Gallery, NY (2012), Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan, France (2010).