Aerial Photography

William GarnettI’ve been a National Geographic reader since I was a youngster, and I’ve always been terribly fascinated by the aerial photographs found within its pages. I never did learn how to fly (nor have I tried), and although I took up mountaineering and rock climbing, the view and feel just isn’t quite the same.

Although aerial photography is considerably easier to execute today than in the earlier days of the medium (better and more well-suited photographic equipment; alternative flight forms [ultralight’s, for instance], it is still a form of photography practiced largely by private pilots, assignment photographers (those whose flights are generally paid for), and the wealthy. It’s reasonably impractical for most other photographers who are pursuing ‘personal work’ to hire flights – it’s just too prohibitively expensive.

Herein is a very short list of aerial photographers whose work greatly inspires me:

Bradford Washburn: mountain climber, explorer, cartographer, pilot, photographer, honorary doctor, museum director – wow! An amazing and accomplished man. His aerial work was done with 5×7″ and 8×10″ large format cameras! See some of his work here . Learn about him here. Books by or about him and his photography.

William Garnett: an amazing eye for the abstract. Another private pilot. Learn about him here. Books. His work in Aerial Photographs is positively sublime.

Alex MacLean: has an excellent eye for form, design, and color. Yet another private pilot (seeing any trends?). His website. Books.


You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.


2 thoughts on “Aerial Photography

  1. Hey Michael

    There is a Washburn exhibition in Anchorage this summer, so hopefully I’ll get to see some more of his stuff there. Also, Lanting has some amazing aerial stuff .. his work on Wrangell St. Elias, done over a few weeks, is some of the best landscape photography anywhere, and he has a new project on the Colorado Plateau as well .. some really cool images.



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