I like to imagine that if I were to hop on a spaceship and zoom a distance away from the earth I’d be able to watch all of the inhabitants of our busy planet scuttling hurriedly around its surface like tiny ants. This is extreme, of course, and completely ridiculous, but as it turns out, if you hover at a considerably lower altitude in a plane, and dangle out of the window, you really can make out the traces of activity that we leave behind us.
Just ask Wired if you don’t believe me. They interviewed the very brilliant photographer Alex MacLean about his aerial photography examining the relationships between people and their environments (we wrote about them once before here) and the almost revelatory quality his images possess.
Alex has been leaning out of plane windows to capture his shots ever since being awarded his pilot’s license in the 1970s, and he hopes that his photographs will encourage viewers to consider the impact of pollution and resource extraction on the environment. He explains: “Through sort of abstract and engaging patterns, those things will draw people into it to hopefully think about these issues. It really is about combining art and information. Some of it is sort of subliminal – you can’t quite put your finger on it but it sort of draws you in and engages you.”
You can read the interview here to find out about the equipment Alex uses, his framing techniques and what he loves most about photographing giant sprawling patterns across unending landscapes. Or just gaze open-mouthed at these wonders. Like I am.