An Aerial Perspective of the Tuscan Coastline

Sometimes, seeing life from above adds a further dimension to our sense of reality. Aerial photographer Bernhard Lang has elevated this principle into a form of art. His recent series, Versilia, exposes an antagonism between the beauty of order and a planet of chaos.

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The Munich-based photographer has not been short of praise for his work since the last time we caught up with him. In 2015, he won the Sony World Photo Award and, in 2016, The Guardian compared his photographs to the work of abstract painter Piet Mondrian. Making photographs out of helicopter doors has become his signature and helped him prove his adept visual creativity.

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His collection Versilia, shot above the Tuscan town of the same name, points to the contrast between the origins of life out of the sea and the technological advancements of our era, and shines a light on debates about human destruction of nature. As sun umbrellas, buildings and roads cut through the original nature of sand and sea, the patterns and configurations that they create leave the impression that there is more order to holiday fun than there would seem.

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We caught up again with Bernhard to find out more about his airborne habits.

THE PLUS: What attracted you to Versilia?
Bernhard Lang:
There are so many sun-umbrella formations in big dimensions – one next to the other. It reminded me of electronic switch circuits and algorithmic expositions.

TP: How long did you stay in Versilia to make the photographs? Were the pictures all shot on one flight?
BL:
I stayed in Versilia for four days to get the right weather and light. I took all the photographs during one photo-flight which lasted about two hours. 

TP: To what extent do you want to intervene against the destruction of nature?
BL:
My modest contribution has been to make the effects of the human habitation on earth visible by drawing attention to them with images.

TP: Why do you prefer going up in a helicopter rather than using a drone?
BL:
I personally don’t like drones that much – they inevitably give a connotation of spying. Also, the resolution of affordable drone cameras still can’t compete with the resolution of the medium format cameras that I use.

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