Through Lush Aerial Photos, Pham Huy Trung Documents the Rich Textures and Colors of Vietnam’s Agriculture
Photographer Pham Huy Trung (previously) continues to spotlight the agricultural rituals of his native Vietnam through aerial images captured in vivid detail. Interested in annual harvests of grass, water hyacinths, and other crops tended to around the country, Pham often documents farmers working in the Mekong Delta, a wet coastal region that fosters a robust aquaculture.
Some of his most recent photos center on those gathering lush vegetation in the fields, while others take viewers to the next step in the production cycle, glimpsing the vibrant buckets and neatly packed rows of fish at the markets. Each photo is rich with organic pattern and texture and celebrates the beauty of the landscape alongside the people who harvest its goods.
Find prints of Pham’s striking works in his shop, and explore a larger archive on Instagram.
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Tom Hegen’s Aerial Photos of Spanish Olive Groves Reveal Undulating Patterns and Deep Traditions
For millennia, Spain has been leading producer of olives thanks to the Mediterranean climate’s long, hot summers and mild winter temperatures. Harvested and cured in brine or ground up to extract the natural oils, the fruits are grown on trees planted in vast groves that stretch for miles over the undulating landscape. The region of Andalusia in particular boasts a time-honored tradition of olive cultivation, producing and exporting more than any other part of the country. For German photographer Tom Hegen, the rows and grid-like patterns of the groves presented an irresistible subject.
Known for his aerial photos of swaths of earth that have been impacted by human presence, such as salt extraction sites, Florida beaches, and solar plants, Hegen captures expansive Spanish landscapes that when viewed from above, morph into abstractions of pattern and texture. He highlights the immense monocultures that spread over nearly six million acres of Spanish countryside, documenting both large-scale agricultural production and smaller farms managed by individual families for whom producing olive oil is a centuries-old vocation.
Explore more of Hegen’s aerial photography on his website and Instagram.
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In ‘African Studies,’ Edward Burtynsky Photographs the Human Imprint on Sub-Saharan Landscapes
Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky approaches his latest project with curiosity about the future of human impact and globalization. From the diamond mines of South Africa to the richly textured landscape of Namibia’s Tsaus Mountains, African Studies spotlights the sub-Saharan region and its reserves of metals, salt, precious gemstones, and other ores. “I am surveying two very distinct aspects of the landscape,” he says in a statement, “that of the earth as something intact, undisturbed yet implicitly vulnerable… and that of the earth as opened up by the systematic extraction of resources.”
Taken over seven years in ten nations—these include Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, and Tanzania—the aerial photos, which are compiled in a forthcoming book published by Steidl, present a dichotomy between a region irrevocably altered by humanity and one of immense possibility. Burtynsky’s interest in the continent began in the early Aughts when working on a series about China, which he explains:
For that project, and while researching several topics including the Three Gorges Dam, urban renewal, and recycling, I learned how the new Chinese factories were being created. At the time, heavy machinery was literally being unbolted from concrete floors in Europe and North America, then shipped and refastened to the floors of gigantic facilities in China. This represented a paradigm shift of industry, and it seemed obvious that China was rapidly becoming a leading manufacturer for the world. I realized even then that the African continent was poised to become the next, perhaps even the last, territory for major industrial expansion.
Particularly since 2013 when it launched its Belt and Road Initiative, China has invested billions of dollars in expanding its global presence, with many African nations as targets. This growth, along with international competition for access and power on the continent, has widespread economic, environmental, and governmental impacts, which Burtynsky explores through the series.
Photographed via helicopter, plane, or drone, his images juxtapose the natural beauty of the landscape with the unnerving scars of human impact. Long tailing ponds, or waste sites from mining with the potential to contaminate the area with toxic chemicals, appear frequently in the project, while photos like that of the Dandora Landfill center on the direct effects of consumerism on local people. The largest waste repository in Kenya, the dump site attracts locals who scavenge recyclable plastic to sell, despite the rampant threat of cancer and infertility.
While much of African Studies is shot outdoors, Burtynsky heads inside for part of the project, documenting the interiors of manufacturing plants. “I hope to continue raising awareness about the cost of growing our civilization without the necessary consideration for sustainable industrial practices and the dire need for implementing globally organized governmental initiatives and binding international legislations in order to protect present and future generations from what stands to be forever lost,” he says.
African Studies is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop. Photos from the series are also on view at two New York spaces: Sundaram Tagore through April 1 and Howard Greenberg Gallery through April 22.
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Aerial Photographs by Kevin Krautgartner Capture the Magnificent Power of Crashing Waves Above Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline
Nothing puts the enormous power of nature into perspective quite like the energy of our planet’s oceans. On a reef off of the North Short of O’ahu, Hawaii, some of the world’s most famously thrilling and dangerous waves present enticing conditions for surfing in an area known as the Banzai Pipeline. Photographer Kevin Krautgartner celebrates the mesmerizing, barrel-shaped breakers in Pipeline, a series of aerial images highlighting the formidable force of water crashing and whorling along the shore.
“Personally, waves always get my attention when I’m close to a coastline or the ocean,” Krautgartner says. “For me, they are especially unique because they are a natural phenomenon that can create a sense of awe and wonder… creating a rhythmic pattern that can be both soothing and exhilarating.” Going beyond documentation, he focuses on details like structure and form, examining the elemental interactions between light, water, and air. Taken from an aerial perspective and devoid of figures or landmarks for scale, he emphasizes how no two moments are the same: “Since nature is in a constant state of change, be it short or long term, each of my works captures a moment that will never happen again.”
Krautgartner recently released Water.Color, a book featuring his aerial photographs of surreal, watery landscapes. Find more of his work on his website, Behance, and on Instagram.
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Dense Autumn Trees Blanket a Mountainous Bavarian Forest in Bernhard Lang’s Aerial Photos
The motto for the Bavarian Forest National Park in southeastern Germany translates to “let nature be nature.” This sentiment grounds conservation efforts within the preserve, which boasts near-primeval areas, or regions that have had very little human intervention. It also means that dead or dying trees aren’t removed and are instead left for the earth to subsume as they decay.
As part of his ongoing Aerial Views collection that highlights how people have profoundly impacted environments, Bernhard Lang (previously) photographed the mountainous forest from above. Many of the images juxtapose evergreens’ verdant needles with the autumnal hues of deciduous trees, while others glimpse dozens of fallen specimens as they rot. “In the last years, the forest has recovered by itself from the bar beetles and wind-caused damages. Mushrooms, other plants, and young trees are growing again, having the dead wood as a basic fertile soil,” Lang shares.
Prints from the Bavarian Forest series are available on the photographer’s site, and he’s donating 20 percent of the proceeds to conservation efforts. Follow his latest aerial adventures on Instagram.
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In Tom Hegen’s Aerial Photos, Swimmers and Loungers Texture Two Florida Beaches with Colorful Patterns
As much of the northern hemisphere braces for gray, wintery weather, photographer Tom Hegen (previously) highlights the warm, vibrant oceanside of Florida’s Siesta Key and Miami beaches. Swimmers and sunbathers escaping the rays under colorful umbrellas line the coast and appear as textured, geometric shapes dotting the water and white sandy expanses. The Beach Series juxtaposes the haphazard with the organized, documenting both neat rows of uniform loungers and clusters of people as they congregate along the shoreline.
See all of the sun-soaked photos in Hegen’s collection on Behance, and find prints, posters, and books of his aerial works on his site.
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