Switzerland, when seen from above, opens up new perspectives. Aerial photographs are “tools for reflection”, as the internationally renowned Swiss photographer Georg Gerster referred to his pictures. “From above, one sees not only what is, but also what could be – the inventory of our opportunities.”
The weightlessness with which the camera floats over the yellow treetops and the winding road is transferred to us. This creates a feeling of elegance and elevation. The bird’s-eye view lets us feel a little of the freedom we associate with flying.
The eye floating above us not only has the unique ability to visualise abstract geometric forms on the Earth’s surface that can be seen only from a distance, it has also left behind the distractions and duties of life on Earth as well as the laws of gravity.
Scholars in the early 20th century believed that the “form” of living space made visible by aerial photography was indeed the key to understanding the cultural norms, values and modes of production of the societies that produced these forms. At that time, after elaborate planning with heavy camera equipment, people would step into the basket of a gas balloon to reach the necessary heights. The Swiss Eduard Spelterini was one of the pioneers of aerial photography.
Such cameras can now be bought in discount shops. Photographers today carry a drone in their car. The view from above has become so common that today there is hardly a wedding photographer who does not take at least one picture with a drone.