Miniature World: Aerial Photography of Bernhard Lang
A Walmart parking lot looks like Tetris in the photos of Munich photographer Bernhard Lang, a lake looks like an oddly shaped ink stain and fields like radar screens. For each shoot, Lang charters a light airplane — he never uses drones. The photographer told Bird In Flight how he finds stories, why he considers his works art and who buys them.
Munich-based photographer. Has been doing aerial photography since 2010. Won Sony World Photography Awards, International Photography Awards and many more. Exhibited his works in Galerie Liusa Wang (Paris), in Somerset House and Getty Gallery (London) and in Willy-Brandt-Haus (Berlin).
How do I take my photographs? It’s very simple. There are a lot of great ideas — rockets or pigeons would be great to work with. But I like to use helicopters or light aircraft. The helicopter charter costs and the travel costs to the locations are quite high. Producing an Aerial Views series costs several thousands of euros.
After I received a lot of requests for fine art prints, we just made a catalogue with a selection of my strongest imagery from the entire Aerial Views project. Through the catalogue I am offering Fine Art Prints in limited editions with only 8 prints of each image. The prices for these exclusive prints start at about 2500,- €. Anybody who is interested in purchasing a Fine-Art-print is welcome: Private collectors, galleries and museums, anyone who likes contemporary art in general.
I started to getting into photography, because I wanted to have a profession combining technical and creative skills, and in photography you need both. The Aerial Views project I have started in 2010. I had been 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 — and I thought I really would like to try to capture this.
Taking aerial photographs is my passion. And I am trying to shoot in my own style. If I would have acrophobia, I would not have started the Aerial Views project for sure. Anyway, I am glad every time when a photoflight is finally over, nothing dangerous has happened, and I am standing on the ground again.
I am always trying to keep my eyes open to find new, interesting locations, and I get inspiration through TV documentaries, Internet blogs, magazines. Relevance and the scenery are both important — spectacularity not that much.
About Technology and Risks
I don’t want to use drones, although it would have made the shooting much easier. I want to feel flight dynamics though. There are still the concerns of flight safety, because here and there I hear about crashes, but I have decided not to work with drones for the moment.
On a way to a location in Italy we had to pass a military airport, so we just had radio traffic with their tower, because a fighter jet had been starting up near by. So we just had to make sure not to get in its way.
I do not have a pilot’s license. The good thing flying with a pilot is that I can purely concentrate on shooting. My very first flight in 2010 was with a little ultralight plane, flown by a pilot, and I was sitting next to him. The landing runway was only few hundred meters long on a meadow. At the end of it was a hole in the ground, a few meters deep. Because of the tailwind the pilot noticed, while trying to land, that we would have already not enough space for landing. So he had to go up again at the last moment, before crashing into the hole. Anyway, the photoflight before had been so great that I kept on doing them.
Is aerial photography art? It depends on the intention of the photographer and what he wants to show with his work, or for what reason he’s doing it. It depends also on what other people think of your work — if it is drawing the attention of galleries and museums or if you receive awards for it.