An Aerial View

Jeffrey Milstein is a pilot, a photographer and an architect. His latest exhibition LA NY sits neatly at the intersection of these very different worlds. “When I was young I had a love of planes and flying. I was fascinated by how everything looked from above,” recalls Jeffrey.

“Fifty years later I took to the air again to photograph the man-made landscape, this time with high resolution stabilized cameras and a vision informed by my years spent as an architect and photographer.” The work featured in the exhibition offers a contrasting portrait of both New York and Los Angeles, only shot from half a mile up, giving a unique perspective.

Aerials of Container Ports, photography
Aerial photographs
Aerial photographs
The images ooze colour and satisfying straight lines, which seem to belie the dynamic and ever-changing nature of these thriving metropolises. Each image of course offers a snapshot of man’s impact upon his environment and for all the complexity of human civilization, they do look disconcertingly like insect-made structures.

We spoke to Jeffrey more about his unique approach:

The Plus: Can you tell us a bit about the forthcoming exhibition?
Jeffrey Milstein:
At an altitude of one to two thousand feet, a view unavailable from the ground opens up. From here you have grand vistas, yet you are close enough to see intimate details like the hand of the architect which can be seen in the Masonic inspired patterns of The Park La Brea housing development in Los Angeles, and in the geometric site plan of Stuyvesant Town in New York City. In LA, the socio economics of neighbourhoods are evident in the colour hue and patterns of the aerial images.

Aerial photographs
TP: You have a degree in architecture, how does that feed into your photography practice?
JM:
The work has evolved into a plan view shooting more or less straight down, which is like an architect’s plan view. I tend to want to make things line up.

Aerial photographs

TP: Can you talk us through the process of taking the aerial shots?
JM:
I have to attach the camera to a gyro and the door is off the helicopter. Then it’s trying to communicate to the pilot where to put the craft so I can get the shot I want, usually pushing the pilot to put it into a steep turn pulling some G’s, trying to get the shot lined up and hold it steady.

Cuba

TP: Are you working on anything new?
JM:
I want to continue with the aerials. There are so many interesting views from the air. I want to show details and lighting not seen in Google Earth.

City aerials
City aerials
Cuba
Aerial photographs
LA 09 Park La Brea
Cuba
LA NY is on at Benrubi Gallery 9 July – 22 August.