First Look

24 September - 11 October 2019

“Traveling has a way of taking the ordinary and turning it into something wonderful. Our senses are aroused by the unfamiliar. Everything looks new from above and that first look is usually the most memorable. We live in a beautiful world. This collection of aerial photographs shares my first look at a small part of it.” - David Ondaatje

Long before taking the aerial photographs now on view, David Ondaatje experimented with newfound perspectives through his lens. Ondaatje creatively captured aerial views as a filmmaker, and as technology continually improved, it allowed Ondaatje to photograph from elevated heights with finer and higher resolution, resulting in these large scale works. Always curious to see his surroundings from an unusual perspective, Ondaatje brought his aerial camera with him as he travelled, capturing new landscapes from above. 

Ondaatje prefers to navigate the challenges of photographing aerial landscapes in the peaceful morning calm. Although sometimes difficult, the thrill of seeing from a birds’ eye view always proves the challenge worthwhile. Often photographing alone as the day begins and the sun layers the landscape with light and shadow, Ondaatje captures the world in its peaceful state.

The locations Ondaatje traveled to and photographed range from the Californian coastline closer to home, to snowy peaks in the Swiss Alps, to the remote wilderness of British Columbia and elsewhere. Yet, for all these images, the composition explores the unique textures and movements of each landscape witnessed from above as he sees them for the first time. From a heightened view, Ondaatje enlightens us with an alternate way of seeing.