Aerial Perspectives of Landscape and Nature

Field Guide to Nature




Gaspard Felix Tournachon, a 19th century French photographer also known as “Nadar,” was the first photographer to successfully publish an aerial photo.  Nadar is also well-known for documenting the Haussmanization of Paris, France, coincidentally utilizing aerial photographs as his main form of documentation.

Le Corbusier would be satisfied with this documentation but would have proposed using aerial photographs as basis for analysis and planning.    Corbs believed “aerial observation in revealing the failure of cities as well as the potential of new, synoptic planning processes” would relieve the built environment of the “picturesque sentimentality” that plagued the planning process at that time (Corner 124,125).  Nonetheless, there is little doubt that aerial photography has and continues to change society’s perception of the landscape.

This is illustrated in fascist propaganda in the early 1930’s where “the power of the state of the state was displayed in the disseminated aerial photographs…

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