In this VII Interactive Book Club meet­ing, record­ed live on May 3, 2020, Tomas van Houtryve dis­cuss­es his book, Lines and Lineage, where he takes aim at America’s col­lec­tive amne­sia of his­to­ry. The work address­es the miss­ing pho­to­graph­ic record of the peri­od when Mexico ruled what we now know as the American West. To visu­al­ize the peo­ple and places from the remark­able yet unseen Mexican era, van Houtryve chose to pho­to­graph the region with glass plates and a 19th-century wood­en cam­era. His por­traits of direct descen­dants of ear­ly inhab­i­tants of the West—mestizo, Afro-Latin, indige­nous, Crypto-Jewish—are paired in dip­tychs with pho­tographs of land­scapes along the orig­i­nal bor­der and archi­tec­ture from the Mexican peri­od. Lines and Lineage also includes his­toric maps and essays. This book lifts the per­va­sive fog of dom­i­nant Western mythol­o­gy and makes us ques­tion the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shap­ing the iden­ti­ty of the West. Lines and Lineage was award­ed France’s pres­ti­gious Roger Pic Prize and was select­ed as a final­ist for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. It was pub­lished as a mono­graph by Radius Books in autumn 2019.

This lec­ture was orig­i­nal­ly host­ed at VII Interactive, a new resource for shar­ing insights and infor­ma­tion on the craft of visu­al sto­ry­telling. We are build­ing dif­fer­ent plat­forms with­in the VII ecosys­tem, where the pub­lic can engage direct­ly, online with a live instruc­tor. VII Interactive offers pro­gram­ming that is free and avail­able to every­one, in addi­tion to paid class­es and indi­vid­ual men­tor­ing that can be fash­ioned to your needs.