Photographer Gerco de Ruijter has quite an unusual way of taking pictures. The Dutchman captures these lovely photographs from the air using a film camera outfitted with a wide angle lens attached to either a kite or a fishing pole. He uses a remote trigger to activate the shutter.
Ruijter is able to take these detailed aerial photos not by riding an airplane or helicopter, but by ingeniously using a 30-foot fishing pole or a kite that flies 150 feet in the air. Prior to launching his camera, he must make all the proper adjustments and calibrations, which include shutter speed, aperture, focal length and focus while everything is still on the ground. Once he sees the prints, he typically does some cropping, however he tries to avoid this by getting the frame right in camera.
Even though he does what he can to plan each shot, the outcomes are always a surprise.“For me, what’s important in the image is that you can look at it in different ways.” He says. “If it’s good, you can shift between the abstraction and the photographic reality. Sometimes it’s very rewarding, sometimes very difficult,” he adds. “I’m just trying to look for differences in this small pool that I’m fishing in.”
His newest series entitled Undiscover takes a look at the immense plastic sheets that farmers in the Netherlands use to cover their crops to shield them from the elements. The wavy and often-torn sheets seem almost miniature-like. Sometimes Ruijter’s pictures elicit reactions as people tend to read inherent messages in them. He insists, however that he is not into any undercurrents or hidden symbolisms, unless the viewers themselves want to conjure-up their own.
Ruijter has his artistic roots in painting, and transitioned to photography using disposable cameras. He would merge the twin interests by making paintings of his photographs. “In painting, I liked the big gesture and being able to get this large texture. But in photography I have both — I can have these large, brute-like textures, but also the very fine details, and I can mix those things in one image.”
See his unorthodox aerial images of the Netherlands here.