My work is included in the “HUMAN +” exhibit at ArtScience Museum, Singapore opening on May 20, 2017.
“Bird’s Eye View”
Blog #206 5/16/17
This blog has to do with air……airplanes and airports.
Walking to the gate: Airports have become shopping malls.
The view out my window as my plane is pulling out.
The ubiquitous ground crew member guides the plane.
During my many years as a photographer, I have learned that there are pictures everywhere, often in places that, in today’s world, have become such a routine part of life that there would seem to be nothing new to be seen.
Fascinating lines vanish into an infinite distance; a metaphor for travel.
Whenever I travel by air, I carry a camera. Though flying from one place to another from modern airports, long ago having lost their miraculous aura (not to mention its glamour), I have found during countless trips across the country and two oceans that there are still remarkable things to see and photograph.
At the moment of liftoff (what pilots call “rotation velocity”), crossing landing lanes (from SFO).
At liftoffs pilots sometimes circle back over the airport. I yearn for these “close-up” views.
Leaving the airport—the plane is still “low.“
SF Bay—I love this view:
Top: Pacific Ocean; left: SF; upper right: Marin County; center: Bay bridge; bottom: Oakland;
Pacific Ocean along Southern California beaches.
Flying north, along California’s coast; sitting at a window on the right side of the aircraft.
To be able to look down from above the earth – once known to painters as the “God’s Eye View” – is the kind of privilege that can ease the many small annoyances of air travel. There are many photographers who have made spectacular photographs from above, using helicopters, small airplanes or even motorized paragliders.
The most noted of these aerial specialists is
Yann Arthus Bertrand whose amazing work includes (among many books), “Earth from the Air,” one of my favorite books.
Bernhard Edmaier is another very important aerial photographer. His many works have gained widespread international attention.
Even the phenomenal Edward Burtynsky has made images from the air as part of his larger studies of what he describes as “nature transformed through industry.”
I have been inspired by other great photographers, especially by three good friends of mine who have made fantastic images from above:
George Steinmetz– his books, especially, “African Air” contain thrilling images made from his paraglider.
Jeffrey Millstein– an architect and photographer, whose immaculate and exacting work from helicopters and airplanes reflect his education and passion.
Vincent LaForet– his book “AIR” contains breathtaking high-altitude nighttime aerial photos taken over earth’s iconic cities.
Having studied the work of these and many others, I understand what a marvelous aerial image is, and what it isn’t. My work, shooting from a seat on a large airplane through two layers of windows (often not clear or sometimes dirty) and being transported without any control about location and altitude, cannot compare with the careful, crystal clear work of these highly accomplished photographers. However, I do have my own point of view, and I like to think that under conditions far from the close control I can exert in my studio (or swimming pool) I have been able to come back from my many flights with images that surprise and delight me.
Just overhead and along an incoming path.
The graphics of the tarmac fascinate me.
“Landscapes” from 30,000 feet offer infinite imagery.
Winter over The Great Plains
The landscape’s “abstract” forms are visual dreams for me.
It took a year and four separate flights into or out of NYC to photograph “City Island”
A cemetery in the middle of LA.
A golf course in the middle of LA, ironically similar to the cemetery.
I love the LA highways, above them, not on them.
California’s East Bay suburbs meet the coastal hills, which are richly green only a few months at the end of winter’s rainy season, and then turn pale brown – hence, the “golden state.”
The Dumbarton Bridge connecting Silicon valley with the East Bay.
Coming into NYC one evening. Evening/night landings seem almost to evoke the days when flying was romantic.
Home sweet home.
Glitterati Incorporated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14” print of the buyer’s choice.