Photographer Bernhard Lang specializes in Aerial Photography. Since 2010 he has been working on his project Aerial Views, photographing numerous sceneries from above, including coal mines, container harbors, and beach resorts. For him the aerial view shows the world from a different, unusual perspective. He wants to display the impact of human beings on the environment.
You are known best known for your aerial photography, how did you end up in the sky?
I was inspired by the vistas outside the window on passenger flights. I remember being particularly captivated by snowy landscapes during a flight from Tokyo to Munich that took me over Siberia, and the vast deserts I saw on a flight to South Africa. It was very impressive to see these structures from 10,000 meters above … the landscapes, the huge rivers. I was always interested in seeing the patterns… These all looked like paintings to me.
You have photographed a wide variety of things from the air, from beaches to mines, how do you choose your subjects?
That’s completely different. Sometimes the ideas come from TV documentaries, magazine articles, blog-articles.
Much of your work shows the effect that humans have on the planet, have you always been interested in environmental issues?
Yes, I have been always interested in environmental issues. Through my images of the Aerial Views project I am trying to show this massive impact of humans on earth. But I don’t want to preach or moralize. It’s also about the contrast between the beauty of the Earth and the impact of humans on it.
“I don’t want to preach or moralize. It’s also about the contrast between the beauty of the Earth and the impact of humans on it.”
Your photographs of the Adriatic coastline take a different approach, what inspired you to focus on beachgoers?
If you have a look on the Adriatic coastline in Italy with its endless rows of beach resorts, I think there’s also the human impact extremely visible.
Besides that I have been interested in the variety and colorfulness and the strict geometric arrangements of the sun umbrellas.
A lot of the work is very abstract and graphic, literally a very distanced approach to human issues?
I think with a certain distance, the view on things or on the environment can be different and enriching.
What do you feel that aerial photography can convey that a photograph taken from the ground can’t?
As I have said, the aerial point of view shows a perspective which is not that common than from the ground.
“It was very impressive to see these structures from 10,000 meters above … the landscapes, the huge rivers. I was always interested in seeing the patterns… These all looked like paintings to me.”
When you do commercial work that is not in the air, how is that transition?
I started as a commercial photographer in the year 2000 and on the Aerial Views Project I have been working since 2010. I produce the Aerial Views Project on my own. For covering the costs, which are quite high , I put the money in, which I earn with commercial photography.
Following your Adriatic coastline and your Sony Photography Awards win, where to next?
I have a few things in mind. But I just can talk about it or show it, when they are done and I think, that the results are worth showing to the public.