For most photographers, making a great shot requires a quick, coordinated burst of framing, focusing, and exposing. But for aerial photographer Alex MacLean, that synchronization also includes making sure his airplane is flying steady. “It’s a lot easier than trying to take pictures out of a car because you’re dealing in 3-D space. The plane will fly itself straight and level. That’s even without autopilot,” he said. “I usually set myself up, pick up the camera for five or 10 seconds, and take the picture out an open window.”
The exhibition “Alex MacLean: Aerial Perspectives” at London’s Beetles and Huxley celebrates more than 30 years of MacLean’s work. MacLean’s career in photography began in 1975, when he got his pilot’s license after graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. While flying his Cessna 172, he started taking photos of architectural and landscape design, which he sold to universities for research purposes. Eventually, he formed his own photographycompany and assembled a roster of municipal, institutional, corporate, and private clients.