Back to All Events

Tomas van Houtryve: Lines and Lineage

  • Palo Alto Photo Forum 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA, 94303 United States (map)

We often forget that the boundary between the United States and Mexico was not always where it is today. It used to be 700 miles farther north, following what is now the state line between Oregon and California and running east to Wyoming before zagging southeast to Louisiana. Originally home to the indigenous peoples of the region, much of this land was Spanish and then Mexican territory for centuries before becoming what we now think of as the American West.

‘Lines and Lineage’ is a new powerful body of work by award-winning photographer Tomas van Houtryve that explores the reality of the US and Mexico border before 1848, when the United States seized half of Mexico’s land and created the border that we know today.

Using glass plates and a nineteenth-century camera, van Houtryve has masterfully photographed landscapes along the original border and has created portraits of descendants of early inhabitants, imagining what that history might look like if California had not been annexed to the United States. Van Houtryve presentation will explore how photography has shaped our understanding of early California history.

After the presentation, moderator Sally Katz will conduct an interview and Q&A with the audience. Light refreshments included.