2015 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, 2nd prize

Blue Sky Days


Tomas van Houtryve

VII for Harper's Magazine

10 November, 2013

The photographer bought his own drone, mounted a camera and traveled across the United States looking for situations similar to those mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen.

Since 2002, the US has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) to collect intelligence and carry out airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The aircraft are guided via satellite by distant operators. The attacks have resulted in a large number of fatalities, including hundreds of civilians.

About the photographer

Tomas van Houtryve

Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas van Houtryve developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. Immediately after graduation ...

Background story

People exercising in central Philadelphia. Drone operators may consider such ‘signature behaviors’ as evidence of the existence of a training camp.

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
18.3 mm

This image is collected in