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HomeContentsThemes > Aerial

Contents

Introduction
16.01   Aerial photography
16.02   James Wallace Black: Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It
16.03   Satellite imaging
Aerial images and fine art
16.04   William A. Garnett: Aerial views of Californian suburbia
16.05   David Maisel: Oblivion
16.06   Gábor Kerekes: Over Rosswell (2002-2005)
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
  
Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
 
  
Introduction 
  
16.01   Aerial >  Aerial photography 
  
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There are multiple overviews of Aerial photography[1], regional studies[2] and studies within specific applications:
Archaeology
 
Aerial photography is the ultimate aid for surveying landscapes looking for archaeological sites and for their analysis once located.[3]
 
Geography
 
Geography is an amalgam is distinct discipline and aerial photography has been applied to geomorphology, geology, pedology, hydrology. meteorology, vegetation, forestry, agriculture, land use and urban studies.[4]
 
Military
 
Aerial reconnaissance was used extensively during the First World War (1914-1918)[5] and every war since including the Second World War (1939-1945).[6]
This theme includes all forms of Aerial photography from kites, balloons, fixed wing and satellites. The history of aerial photography also includes companies such as Aerofilms in Britain founded by Claude Grahame-White and Francis Lewis Wills on 9 May 1919. After the learning period of the First World War when aerial photography was still in its infancy and being used for military intelligence Aerofilms saw the opportunity of making aerial photographs available to the mass market.[7] 
  
   Aerial 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
 
  
16.02   Aerial >  James Wallace Black: Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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On 13 October 1860 Samuel Archer King[8] piloted his balloon Queen of the Air from which James Wallace Black took 8 glass negatives[9] of which one was servicable of the city of Boston from 1200 feet. The title Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It sums it up rather well. 
  
16.03   Aerial >  Satellite imaging 
  
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The advantages of an aerial perspective on the world were well appreciated in the nineteenth century with Parisian photographer Nadar being an enthusiastic "aeronaut" and advocate for flight.[10] The balloon flights of James Wallace Black, who took the wonderfully titled photograph Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It[11] in 1860, was a celebrity. Tethered balloons were used for reconnaissance and, as the technologies improved, they for bombing and photography as in the First World War (1914-1918 when fixed wing aircraft were also used to take photographs. As the number of pilots rose and they returned to civilan life with a knowledge of aviation so the benefis of aerial photography were applied to geography[12] and archaeology.[13] The access to aerial imagery is now so commonplace that there is a tendency to forget that is was only in the 1960s that photohistorian Beaumont Newhall's book Airborne Camera: The World from the Air and Outer Space was published.[14]
 
Cold War and the space race created by the launching of Sputnik 1 in 1957.[15] As the camera technolgies used in spy planes developed so they could be added to satellites. With developments in digital image capture sensors and lenses so the images have improved and we now have almost real time images being constantly taken by military, research organisations and private companies. 
  
   Aerial 
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Title | Lightbox | Checklist
 
  
Aerial images and fine art 
  
16.04   Aerial >  William A. Garnett: Aerial views of Californian suburbia 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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William Garnett (1916-2006)[16] was an American photographer who takes abstract aerial photographs of the Californian landscape from a light plane.[17][18] Garnett had studied at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and during the Second World War he had his first opportunity of view the world from above. This experience changed his life and he learnt to fly and eventually acquired a Cessna which allowed him to fly low and use handheld cameras out of the window to capture aerial photographs of California. In 1950 he took a series at Lakewod in California that show the phases of a suburb under development from the grading, trenching, foundations and slabs, framing, platering and roofing right through to the finished housing. This series gives the sense of the optimism of the 1950s with houses for all in new suburbs but also the imposed uniformity and environmental wastelands that would develop out of a lifestyle that was only possible with private transportation and cheap oil. 
  
16.05   Aerial >  David Maisel: Oblivion 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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In a 2006 press release photographer David Maisel[19] described his series "Oblivion" in the following way:
Sanctuary and the Modern Metropolis
 
In his book "Warped Space," the architectural theorist Anthony Vidler speaks of the "paranoiac space of modernism," a space which is "mutated into a realm of panic, where all limits and boundaries become blurred…" These words come to mind when considering the urban aerial images of Los Angeles and its periphery shown in my photographic project called "Oblivion."
 
Certain spatial fears seem endemic to the modern metropolis, and Los Angeles defines this term in ways that no other American city can approximate. This amorphous skein of strip malls and gated developments, highway entrance and exit ramps, lays unfurled over the landscape like a sheet over a recalcitrant cadaver.
 
Surely the earth is dead beneath the sheer weight and breadth of this built form? As we cast a critical eye upon the megalopolis of Southern California, it is necessary to remind ourselves that there is still a heart beating within it. Indeed, 15 million hearts, with all the souls and dreams of the bodies powered by those hearts: the city as living, breathing organism, constantly breaking down and constantly replicating.
 
In its frenzy to expand, the city creates topographies of alienation, fear, and despair. Indeed, Los Angeles is emblematic of an idea of modern space that is linked to an increasing sense of collective societal anxiety. The invention of radical concepts of urban space was a theme central to the early twentieth century avant-garde, who called for modernity to escape from the constraints of history. We now know, in ways once thought unimaginable, that we cannot escape history. These aerial images describe a potentially desecrated urban fabric, even as they transcribe the commonplace. Indeed, in the post-9/11 age we now occupy, chaos and catastrophe seem implicit in the urban aerial view. To surveil and record the city from the air seems nearly to approach an act of civil disobedience. The images cannot help but serve as portent or prophesy of some future conflagration.
 
Is this the reason for the unease, the hint of claustrophobia and synesthetic terror that these pictures elicit? Or is it the endlessness of the expanse, the multiplying nothingness that fills frame after frame, the city metastasizing ceaselessly, which causes a sense of rising dread?
 
Our perceptions are contingent on the positions our bodies occupy in space. The architecturally-trained sculptor Gordon Matta-Clark split open the domestic structure of the home, peeled it apart and let us occupy the void he created. For those making their homes within the urban galaxy of Los Angeles, an entity with neither limit nor center, is there any space remaining that can serve as psychological refuge or sanctuary? From above, in these aerial views, we see encrypted within the city’s code the elements of our own vulnerability: an oblivion that is at once stately, magnificent, and potentially lethal. How do the city’s inhabitants adapt to these aspects of the modern metropolis? As Mike Davis writes in City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, "social anxiety…is just the maladjustment to change. But who has anticipated, or adjusted to, the scale of change in Southern California in the last fifteen years?" Likewise, who among us has adapted to the more recent sea-change wrought in urban living by the demise of the Twin Towers of New York, and the lives that fell along with them?
 
The urban dweller of Southern California now exists in what Davis terms the fastest growing metropolis in the western world, "with a built-up surface area nearly the size of Ireland, and a GNP bigger than India’s." Left to navigate this terrain of anxiety and estrangement, with a pattern of urbanization the critic Peter Plagens calls "the ecology of evil," the citizen of this alien landscape may begin to ponder some of the elemental design questions of our time… Where is home? Where is our safe haven? How can we move towards such a place? Perhaps by forming such questions, we can begin to imagine the process of creating their answers. In the interim, these images imply an incessant search for sanctuary that never ends.[20]
 
  
   David  Maisel 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
 
  
16.06   Aerial >  Gábor Kerekes: Over Rosswell (2002-2005) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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Over Roswell - The Story
 
The town of Roswell lies in the state of New Mexico in the United States at latitude 33.4° N and longitude 104.5° W.
 
In 1947 locals found three dead aliens in a crashed UFO on the outskirts of the town. The FBI and the CIA kept silent and hushed up the incident. The murkiness surrounding this mysterious case has been a source of scandal and controversy ever since.
 
I came across a computer program called "U.S.A. Photomap". With this program you can download a photo-quality satellite image of anywhere in America by giving the geographical coordinates. The maximum resolution is 1 metre/pixel, so on 17 inch monitor with a resolution of 1,024 pixels you can see 1,024 metres. This sparked my imagination. Casting myself in the role of the Roswell aliens, I wondered how this place would look from space.
 
I gave the coordinates. Slowly, square by square, the monitor was filled by the full image. What luck! I overshot the centre of the town, ending up about 600-800 metres away from the inhabited area.
 
A curious, exciting sight greeted my eyes. Lines, circles and squares in a geometrical, abstract arrangement of symbols.
 
You couldn't help but think that these geometrical symbols on the surface of the Earth were intended to convey a message or information. The sight offered an exceptionally varied and almost undecodable configuration. If I were an alien, I'd land here!
 
I cut out details of the picture by "screenshot", added pixels due to the low resolution and printed them. I photographed the print-outs by large film format, and contact printed the negatives on pigmented print. This is how this Roswell collection was made.
 
From digital - to analogue![21] 
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Beaumont Newhall, 1969, Airborne Camera: The World from the Air and Outer Space, (NY: Hastings House Publishers); Kim Sichel, 2007, To Fly: Contemporary Aerial Photography, (Boston University Art Gallery); Denis Cosgrove & William L. Fox, 2010, Photography and Flight, (Reaktion Books) 
      
  2. Λ Klaus D. Francke, 1993, Iceland: Aerials, (Zurich: Edition Stemmle) 
      
  3. Λ O.G.S. Crawford & Alexander Keiller, 1928, Wessex from the Air, (Oxford University Press); Birgir Stichelbaut et al., 2009, Images of Conflict: Military Aerial Photography and Archaeology, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing); Martyn Barber, 2012, A History of Aerial Photography and Archaeology: Mata Hari's Glass Eye and Other Stories, (English Heritage) 
      
  4. Λ Willis T. Lee, 1922, The Face of the Earth as Seen from the Air: A Study in the Application of Airplane Photography to Geography, (New York: American Geographical Society) [Special Publication no. 4]; C.P. Lo, 1971, "Modern Use of aerial photographs in geographical research", Area, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 164-169 
      
  5. Λ Terrence J. Finnegan, 2011, Shooting the Front: Allied Aerial Reconnaisance in the First World War, (The History Press) 
      
  6. Λ Frank Fox, 1999, God's Eye: Aerial Photography and the Katyn Forest Massacre, (West Chester, PA: West Chester University Press); Allan Williams, 2013, Operation Crossbow: The Untold Story of Photographic Intelligence and the Search for Hitler's V Weapons, (Random House) 
      
  7. Λ For Aerofilms Ltd - James Crawford; Katy Whittaker & Allan Williams, 2014, Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above, (English Heritge) 
      
  8. Λ For an early biography of Samual Archer King - James Grant Wilson & John Fiske, 1888, Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography, (Appleton), vol. 3, pp.545-546
    (Available through Google Books) 
      
  9. Λ The glass negatives were 10 1/16 x 7 15/16 ins. 
      
  10. Λ Nadar, 1866, The Right to Fly, (London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin) [Preface by George Sand, Translated from the French by James Spence Harry] 
      
  11. Λ For examples of James Wallace Black, "Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It" (1860):
     
    Boston Public Library, Print Department, File name: 05_01_000036
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005, Accession Number: 2005.100.87 
      
  12. Λ Willis T. Lee, 1922, The Face of the Earth as Seen from the Air: A Study in the Application of Airplane Photography to Geography, (New York: American Geographical Society) [Special Publication No. 4] 
      
  13. Λ O.G.S. Crawford & Alexander Keiller, 1928, Wessex from the Air, (Oxford University Press) 
      
  14. Λ Beaumont Newhall, 1969, Airborne Camera: The World from the Air and Outer Space, (NY: Hastings House Publishers) 
      
  15. Λ Sputnik 1 - Wikipedia
    (Accessed: 4 January 2014)
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputnik_1 
      
  16. Λ William A. Garnett - J. Paul Getty Trust
    (Accessed: 21 August 2013)
    www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=1580 
      
  17. Λ William Garnett, 1996, William Garnett, Aerial Photographs, (University of California Press) 
      
  18. Λ Garnett Photographs - The Jay M. Garnett and Nancy J. Garnett Rev. Trust website.
    (Accessed: 21 August 2013)
    www.garnettphotographs.org 
      
  19. Λ David Maisel, 2006, Oblivion, (Nazraeli Press) 
      
  20. Λ David Maisel (2006) 
      
  21. Λ Gábor Kerekes, "Over Rosswell", (Artist's statement) courtesy of Nessim Gallery, Budapest, Hungary (Provided: November 2013) 
      

alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  

HomeContents > Further research

 
  
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General reading 
  
Barber, Martyn, 2012, A History of Aerial Photography and Archaeology: Mata Hari's Glass Eye and Other Stories, (English Heritage) isbn-10: 1848020368 isbn-13: 978-1848020368 [Δ
  
Beauffort, G. de & Dusariez, M., 1995, Aerial Photographs Taken From a Kite, (KAPWA Foundation Publishing) [Δ
  
Cosgrove, Denis & Fox, William L., 2010, Photography and Flight, (Reaktion Books) isbn-10: 1861893981 isbn-13: 978-1861893987 [Δ
  
Crawford, James; Whittaker, Katy & Williams, Allan, 2014, Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above, (English Heritage) isbn-10: 1848022484 isbn-13: 978-1848022485 [Δ
  
Crawford, O. G. S. & Keiller, Alexander, 1928, Wessex from the Air, (Oxford University Press) [Δ
  
Finnegan, Terrence J., 2011, Shooting the Front: Allied Aerial Reconnaisance in the First World War, (The History Press) isbn-10: 0752460528 isbn-13: 978-0752460529 [Δ
  
Fox, Frank, 1999, God's Eye: Aerial Photography and the Katyn Forest Massacre, (West Chester, PA: West Chester University Press) [Δ
  
Francke, Klaus D., 1993, Iceland: Aerials, (Zurich: Edition Stemmle) [Δ
  
Lee, Willis T., 1922, The Face of the Earth as Seen from the Air: A Study in the Application of Airplane Photography to Geography, (New York: American Geographical Society) [Special Publication No. 4] [Δ
  
Newhall, Beaumont, 1969, Airborne Camera: The World from the Air and Outer Space, (NY: Hastings House Publishers) [Δ
  
Sichel, KIm, 2007, To Fly: Contemporary Aerial Photography, (Boston University Art Gallery) isbn-10: 1881450260 isbn-13: 978-1881450269 [Δ
  
Stichelbaut, Birger et al., 2009, Images of Conflict: Military Aerial Photography and Archaeology, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) isbn-10: 1443801712 isbn-13: 978-1443801713 [Δ
  
Williams, Allan, 2013, Operation Crossbow: The Untold Story of Photographic Intelligence and the Search for Hitler's V Weapons, (Random House) isbn-10: 1409051730 isbn-13: 978-1409051732 [Δ
  
 
  
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
  
Arthur Batut 
  
Autha, Danielle et al., 1988, Labruguiere, birthplace of kite aerophotography, Arthur Batut 1846-1918, (Midi France Communication) [Δ
  
Batur, Arthur, 1887, La photographie appliquée à la production du type d'une famille, d'une tribu ou d'une race, (Paris: Gauthier-Villars et fils) [Δ
  
Batut, A., 1890, La photographie aérienne par cerf-volant, (Paris: Gauthier-Villars et Fils) [Δ
  
Musée Arthur Batut, 2001, Arthur Batut: Fotógrafo: 1846-1918, (València: Universitat de València) isbn-10: 8437049431 [Δ
  
Negre, Serge, 1991, December, ‘Arthur Batut – Photographie 1846–1918‘, Photoresearcher, no. 3, p. 20 [Δ
  
Elly Beinhorn 
  
Beinhorn, Elly, 1935, Flying Girl, (London: Geoffrey Bles) [Δ
  
Beinhorn, Elly, 2007, Elly Beinhorn - Alleinflug: Mein Leben, (Herbig, F A) isbn-10: 3776625228 isbn-13: 978-3776625226 [German] [Δ
  
Marilyn Bridges 
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 1986, Markings: Sacred Landscapes from the Air, (Aperture) [Δ
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 1990, The Sacred and Secular: A Decade of Aerial Photography, (International Center of Photography) [Δ
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 1991, Planet Peru: An Aerial Journey through a Timeless Land, (Kodak/Aperture) [Δ
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 1996, Egypt: Antiquities from Above, (Little Brown) [Δ
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 1997, This Land Is Your Land: Across America by Air, (Aperture) [Δ
  
Bridges, Marilyn, 2007, Flights Through Time, (Lodima Press) [Δ
  
Charles E. Brown 
  
Harold, Anthony, 1983, Camera above the Clouds, Vol.1: The Aviation Photographs of Charles E. Brown, (Airlife Publishing) isbn-10: 0906393310 isbn-13: 978-0906393314 [Δ
  
Alfred G. Buckham 
  
Buckham, Alfred G., 1933, 15 December, ‘A Flying Photographer‘, The Morning Post [Δ
  
Buckham, Alfred G., 1934, 12 January, ‘Above Volcanoes Dead And Alive - Sucked into a Live Crater‘, The Morning Post [Δ
  
Buckham, Alfred G., 1937, April, ‘In the Skyway‘, Camera Craft [Δ
  
Ferguson, Celia, 2007, A Vision of Flight: The Aerial Photography of Alfred G. Buckham, (The History Press) isbn-10: 0752444301 isbn-13: 978-0752444307 [Δ
  
William A. Garnett 
  
Garnett, William, 1996, William Garnett: Aerial Photographs, (University of California Press) isbn-10: 0520083482 isbn-13: 978-0520083486 [Δ
  
Emmet Gowin 
  
Gowin, Emmet, 1998, Aerial Photographs, (Princeton University, Art Museum) isbn-10: 0943012244 isbn-13: 978-0943012247 [Δ
  
David Maisel 
  
Maisel, David, 2006, Oblivion, (Nazraeli Press) [Essay by William L. Fox and poem by Mark Strand] [Δ
  
Maisel, David, 2012, Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, (Steidl) isbn-13: 978-3869305370 [Δ
  
Eduard Spelterini 
  
Stadler, Hilar, 2007, Eduard Spelterini: Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist, (Verlag Scheidegger and Spiess) [Δ
  
Stadler, Hilar, 2010, Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images: The Coloured Slides of the Pioneer Balloonist, (Verlag Scheidegger and Spiess) [Δ
  
Stadler, Hilar, 2011, Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images: The Coloured Slides of the Pioneer Balloonist, (University of Chicago Press) isbn-10: 3858813036 isbn-13: 978-3858813039 [Δ
  
 
  
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com 
  
 
  
Resources 
  
Aerial imagery from around the world 
http://aerial.rcahms.gov.uk 
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland now manages the National Collection of Aerial Photography. This collection includes over 5.5 million declassified reconnaissance photographs taken during the Second World War of Scotland and the World (excepting England / Northern Ireland / Wales). 
  
 
  

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

 
E.D. Archibald • Yann Arthus-Bertrand  (1946-) • Perez Mann Batchelder  (1818-1873) • Arthur Batut  (1846-1918) • Marilyn Bridges  (1948-) • Charles E. Brown  (1896-1982) • Alfred G. Buckham  (1879-1956) • William Abner Eddy • Bernhard Edmaier • Terry Evans  (1944-) • Klaus Francke • William A. Garnett  (1916-2006) • Georg Gerster  (1928-) • Emmet Gowin  (1941-) • Gábor Kerekes  (1945-) • George R. Lawrence  (1868-1938) • David Maisel • Taiji Matsue  (1963-) • Albert Maul • Nadar  (check) • Julius Neubranner • Julius Neubronner  (1852-1932) • Alfred Nobel  (1833-1897) • Robert Petschow  (1888-1945) • Eduard Spelterini  (1852-1931) • George Steinmetz  (1957-) • Nils Strindberg  (1872-1897) • Cesare Tardivo  (1870-1953) • Bradford Washburn  (1910-2007) • Emile Wenz
HomeThemes > Aerial 
 
A wider gazeA closer lookRelated topics 
  
Air transportation 
Airplanes 
Balloons, airships and dirigibles 
 
  

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Aerial

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
ThumbnailAerial photography 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (April 13, 2010) Satellite imagery has been transferred into a separate exhibition. (30 May 2010)
ThumbnailBradford Washburn 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (March 17, 2009)
ThumbnailDavid Maisel: Oblivion 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (February 9, 2007)
ThumbnailSatellite imagery of Earth 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (May 30, 2010) Further iconic examples requested.
 
  

HomeVisual indexes > Aerial

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
   Photographer 
  
ThumbnailAlfred G. Buckham: Aerial photography 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailAlfred Hildebrandt, Objects of different colours (1908) 
ThumbnailDavid Maisel: Oblivion 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailEduard Spelterini: Aerial views 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailGábor Kerekes: Over Rosswell (series 1) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailGábor Kerekes: Over Rosswell (series 2) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailJames Wallace Black: Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailNadar: Balloon flights 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailNils Strindberg: S.A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition (1897) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRudolf Koppitz: Aerial photography 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailSteve Mulligan: Aerial photographs 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailWilliam A. Garnett: Aerial views of California 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
 
  
   Connections 
  
ThumbnailAerial - Satellite 
ThumbnailBerenice Abbott - Lou Stoumen - Phil Palmer 
ThumbnailCharles E. Brown - Margaret Bourke-White 
ThumbnailClem Albers - William A. Garnett 
ThumbnailKonrad Brandel - Nadar - Horace Hall 
ThumbnailLieutenant Philip Henry Sharpe - Harold E. Edgerton 
 
  
   Themes 
  
ThumbnailAerial photography 
ThumbnailAerial photography: Photographers 
ThumbnailScientific: Satellite imagery of Earth 
ThumbnailTransportation: Balloon flights 
ThumbnailWar: First World War (1914-1918): Aerial reconnaissance and bombing photography 
ThumbnailWar: Iraq War (2003-2011): Justification 
ThumbnailWar: Second World War (1939-1945): Aerial reconnaissance and bombing photography 
 
 
  
   Geography 
  
ThumbnailThe Blue Marble 
 
 
  
   Still thinking about these... 
  
ThumbnailHiroshima: Before and after 
ThumbnailKite photography 
 
  
Refreshed: 03 July 2014, 22:16
 
  
 
  
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