Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter recently got in touch with an extraordinary series of aerial photographs called Baumschule—some of which, he explains, were taken using a camera mounted on a fishing rod. “How abstract can a landscape become while remaining a landscape?” de Ruijter asked himself. “I tried to find the answer to this question during extended travels, by searching for a fully natural landscape, not manmade, and lacking any cultural presence. I found these ‘natural-born’ sites in New Mexico—deserts formed by rocks and sand and all forms of erosion. A barren landscape, too, with scarce vegetation.” de Ruijter suggests that “all of these objects arranged to form rows create a new form of abstraction, not because of the image’s emptiness but, to the contrary, because of the presence of so many ‘things,’ and their patterns and rhythms,” as if we could farm and harvest barcodes directly from the ground.
To take these photos, de Ruijter used both kite photography and even “a long fishing rod.” He describes how the process worked: “On top of this rod is a 2.5″ x 2.5″ camera with a wide-angle lens. A self-timer is adjusted to give me enough time to telescope the rod and manoeuver the camera above the subject. The frame of the image begins in front of my own shoes and measures roughly 30′ x 30′.”