Aerial photography was first practiced by the French caricaturist and portraitist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, who took pictures from a hot air balloon in 1858. Across the following century, the kinds of images which he produced – and those created in the early twentieth century from dirigibles and light aircraft – were primarily used for scientific and military purposes. But in the late 1940s, the American artist William A. Garnett began to focus on the artistic possibilities of aerial photography. Garnett had served in World War II as an army cameraman, and on his release from military duty trained as a pilot, creating long-range images of the American landscape from above. Works such as Strip Farm, East Slope of the Tehachapi Mountains (1951), and photographs of tract housing such as Furnished Housing, Lakewood, California (1950), emphasize dramatic abstract patterning, in the style of Stieglitz’s work. The Getty Museum’s entry on Garnett remarks that “his photographs resemble abstract expressionist paintings […] As landscapes, they do not have the conventional grounding of a horizon line. All reveal astonishing patterns that are not seen from the ground.” A number of contemporary artists continue to explore the possibilities of aerial photography, though most use different methods of flight, such as Kacper Kowalski, who creates his images while paragliding, and Zack Zeckler, who photographs from a helicopter.”
On December 23th 2017 I posted “The Hat” and 365 days later, I wonder if it is time to stop the new project. What do you think?