John Griebsch

Limited Edition Archival Pigment Prints






I started photographing when I was twelve years old. My father taught me to fly when I was fourteen years old. Before taking off on my first solo flight, he admonished me not to go out of sight of the airport. I was soon out of his view and yet from where I was, the airport was always in sight. Such are the perceptions of the airborne photographer.

My aerial photographs present a sense of selective design applied to an extremely small and specific area of the vast landscape over which I fly. I find the need to make geographical sense of the earth, as well as the need to make visual sense of a photograph.

I work with ambiguity of scale, the graphic quality of nature and with the hand of man upon the landscape. My images have an abstract and often painterly quality. They are at once factual and interpretive.

Familiar landscapes take on a fresh context when airborne. The images require the confluence of several factors. There is the subject – a minuscule segment of the landscape that has captured my interest due to its sense of pattern, order or disarray. There is the essential contribution of light. There is the position and altitude of the airplane, and there is a need to capture the stillness and composition of the moment while moving over the subject at more than seventy miles per hour.

My earliest aerial photographs were of ice and farmland, made close to home. The scope of the work opened up on solo flights across the continent in my vintage Cessna 170B. Those flights are made to find images of landscapes on a grander scale as well as unfamiliar opportunities to find images that take in a small detail.

In my most recent work I’ve discovered what might be regarded as historical or documentary themes – some of the images of factories and quarries present relics of the country’s industrial past, while my newer images of the landscape and agriculture denote changes in the scale of farming and open space.