TOMAS VAN HOUTRYVE: IMPLIED LINES
A drone’s-eye view of the border
From a certain height the border almost disappears. The top of the metal barrier is only a few inches wide. When seen from the vertical perspective of a drone-mounted camera, it resembles a thin seam on patchwork land that’s been heavily altered by roads, farms and sprawling parking lots. Early or late on a sunny day, the thin barrier casts a long unnatural shadow that makes it much more visible from above—a shadow that Donald Trump has pegged his presidency on a vow to grow much longer.
Over the past year, Tomas has explored the relationship between photography and the border from multiple perspectives. The segment featured here, Implied Lines, is comprised of aerial photos that were inspired by a somewhat forgotten government initiative known as the “virtual fence.” Before there was talk of “the wall,” America’s previous two presidential administrations poured billions of dollars into cutting edge technology to boost border security. The idea was to fortify the line, not with concrete and steel, but with the watchful gaze of aerial drones, thermal cameras, and complex sensors.