Shot while flying at an altitude of 5,000 feet in a Cessna airplane, Alex MacLean‘s photographs show a rarely seen perspective of life on the planet. Captured high enough to provide an aerial view, but not distant enough to obscure details, Maclean’s images provide a unique, observable viewpoint of some fairly common places. The collection was seen at Maclean’s first-ever London show which exhibited at Beetles + Huxley last March. MacLean takes us along on these airborne trips as we view the various areas from a height where things and people are reduced to model-like or miniature objects.
MacLean is a fully licensed pilot and he uses his highly maneuverable Cessna 182 carbon fibre airplane to explore the different landscapes, architecture and peoplescapes from a bird’s eye view. The images he yields are surprisingly toy-like in appearance. Agricultural patterns, sea coasts, airplane graveyards, an amusement park and some small boats docked are just a few of the scenes that were featured in MacLean’s first ever London show.
MacLean is a graduate of Harvard where he earned a Masters of Architecture degree in 1973. His passion for aerial scenes was aroused through his study and appreciation of community and commercial planning from an architectural standpoint. Having acquired his pilot’s license a mere 2 years after graduating, he established his own business, carving a niche in aerial photography for designers, architects, planners as well as environmentalists.
It turned out to be a successful endeavor which has flourished over three decades into one of the world’s most noteworthy collections of aerial photography anywhere. His work has been featured in no less than 11 books and has continued to constantly win accolades, including the 2009 CORINE International Book Award. His unique photographs have been shown in galleries all over the globe and can be found in various public, private as well as university collections.
See some of the images from his remarkable work here.