Friday, May 05, 2006

Aerialism...


Olivo Barbieri's brilliant aerial photography is beyond words. Sublime stuff. People often think his pictures are models when in fact they are seeing the real deal, such as the Coliseum in Rome pictured above. Read about him here and see more of his work here.

Something happens to us when we are in the air. Flying not only gives us a refreshing bird's eye view on the world we inhabit, but, critically, it also removes us from our familiar land-lubbing context. We leave chunks of our identity behind on these precious little spots of earth we invest with so much. These places vanish behind us in a matter of airborne seconds. Since flying is usually associated with travel, the experience is also coupled with a sense of excitement, of breaching the unknown, of new potential. I read somewhere that our emotions are heightened at 30,000 ft. which might explain why you find yourself fighting back the tears on "Ice Age 2" or blubbering through a heavily edited version of "Thank You Not For Smoking." It also explains much of the bad celebrity behavior on airplanes we've read about over the years. All of this makes sense, since, flying is generally an experience where we relinquish our control, our lives, to the hands of a pilot whose name we can't remember.

I don't do drugs, but I will confess that the enhanced vision, the god-like perspective, the, um, high, from flying is something I relish with all the fervor of an Avenue D junky. "Everything seems perfect from far away. Come down now..." go the words to a popular Deathcab for Cutie song in what I assume is a cautionary lyric. Thing is, I am down on the ground, and I am always trying to find ways of getting back up there where everything seems perfect, breathtaking, the scenery always moving and changing, the mood always exultant, the air fresh. In the spirit of Charles Lindbergh, Antoine de St. Exupéry, Howard Hughes, Louis Blériot, Harriet Quimby, Amelia Erhardt, and so on, I champion the urge to fly and the aerialist perspective. Did I mention that I'm scared of heights? Vive le paradox. Conquering fears is a great hobby.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

William Garnett, Adriel Heisey, Cameron Davidson, David Meisel, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, George Steinmetz, Emmit Gowin

These guys are aerial photographers, some of the best in the world.

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