I still remember how amazing it felt when I was young and lucky enough to be flying somewhere and ended up with a window seat. Those few moments during take off and landing provide an exhilarating and rare view of our environment. What would it be like if we had the ability to fly ourselves in our own plane and had the ability to get unhindered shots of wherever we happened to be flying? Welcome to the beautiful bird’s eye view of pilot and aerial photographer Alex Maclean.
Alex Maclean is one of the world’s most preeminent aerial photographers. For almost 40 years, he has been flying himself over much of the United States and parts of Europe. Originally setting up shop as an aerial architectural and landscape design photographer for university research, Alex has established a dedicated and extensive roster of clients over the years.
As a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, with a Masters in Architecture, Maclean possess a keen eye for color, composition and framing which is so evident in his work.
Maclean outlines his ability to observe the world from above, both in terms of understanding the beauty of the natural world, but also how the patterns, shapes and colors of buildings and other man made structures juxtapose against the natural environment, which is the really the essence of what I find most fascinating about his work:
“You see places where things are moving through the landscape making paths. Then you see other things that are holding things in place. Rivers and streams are pathways, for instance, while ponds and lakes are containment. But those categories transcend every land use that you have. That generates patterns right away. The other thing I often look for that really highlights these patterns is looking at borders and edges. You usually get contrasts from one side to the other. Color also adds another huge dimension.”
Alex has just wrapped a gallery showing that was entitled “Alex Maclean: Aerial Perspectives” at London’s Beetles + Huxley, one of the world’s most prominent gallery spaces. Details of his work and the online gallery can still be seen on the site at that link and is well worth checking out.