Why Aerial Art?

I’m often asked why we focus on aerial photography?

The answer is there is something different about aerial photography… 

The perspectives aerial photographs offer are removed from our everyday view of the world around us. They are so different that aerial photographs elicit in us a sense of freedom. The reaction they provoke is one of amazement and wonder ~ and we find them truly fascinating!

For this reason, owning an aerial artwork makes a real focal-point within your home, a source of fascination for those visiting or staying there.


Why is aerial photography so powerful?

My own journey in aerial photography has transformed my relationship to where I live. I know the valleys, the hills, the rivers, and how the individual landmarks fit into the wider landscape in ways that were previously unknown to me.

 

landscape panorama

Panoramic pictures show how landmarks fit into the wider landscape. 


I have studied Ordnance Survey and Google Maps, and thought about how the landscape will appear in the light of the dawn or dusk, and how that light will rise or fall across the hills, fields, and valleys. My journey has led me to see more sunrises and sunsets than at any other time in my life. I have also come to see things in new ways: to notice what was so big, or obvious, before that I simply couldn’t see for looking.

We live in an age in which our lives are in danger of being overwhelmed by technology. Collectively, we are spending more and more time on our phones and other electronic devices, and less and less time absorbed in the natural world and scenery around us. In this situation aerial photography provides a way for us to re-enter the outdoor world around us, and to see in it new and inspiring ways.

Ironically, aerial photography is a digital medium. An aerial photographer is outside in nature but concentrating on a screen. Yet what aerial photography produces, the pictures that result, are different. They are a means by which technology can bring us closer to the landscape we inhabit and to a deeper appreciation of it. Many aerial photographs are consumed digitally, but owning a print of an aerial artwork and hanging it in your home is different again.

 

caer dane iron age hill fort

Caer Dane Iron Age Hill Fort, Perranzabuloe

 

The gift of aerial photography

The gift aerial photography brings is not just the senses of freedom, wonderment, and fascination already mentioned. It is its power to make the everyday and familiar world around us unfamiliar, and to see in new and interesting ways...

I walk along an embankment, but it is just an embankment to me. I see a clump of trees on a hill, but they are just trees ~ I see them every day. There is some wood on the beach, but there is nothing special about that to me ~ I have seen driftwood before. 

Some of these are simply the terms of reference that we use to navigate the world as we move through it. They are often so big, and indiscreet, that we take them for granted, never stopping to ask: what is that?

 

la seine wreck perranporth

Shifting sands and an exceptionally low tide temporarily expose the wreck of the Le Seine, a French Clipper that ran aground on Perranporth Beach in 1900 

 

From above it is a different story. In the air the larger features of our world, that only serve to frame our everyday terms of reference, become smaller ~ placed into a larger context which allows them to appear. Within a larger ground these features are thrown into relief and magically appear as figures in their own right. The familiar embankment becomes the historic railway line of a bygone era, the clump of trees an Iron Age hill fort; and the driftwood on the beach the remains of a 120 year old shipwreck! In this way photographs from above can reveal to us what we had no idea was there for us to see.

In this way part of what develops from an aerial photograph is our historical and cultural impression on the world. In revealing this aerial photography has the power to deepen and enrich our understanding of our place in the scenery in which we live. It invites us to a more complete conception of how the landmarks with which we are familiar fit into the wider landscape, as well as to a more profound understanding of the historical and cultural forces that have shaped it. If we have attention for what they have to teach us, then aerial photographs give us a way of ‘reading’ landscapes; and what they have to tell is a story about who we are, how we have shaped them and, therefore, what they might be.