One of our favourite aerial photographers, Tom Hegen, has taken to the skies once more, this time documenting grounded aeroplanes at German airports during the country's lockdown to fight Covid-19.
Picking out the details from his helicopter above, he was in search of a symbolic image that represents the global pandemic and realised the aviation industry represented the impact of the virus the most. "Aviation is one of the key factors for globalisation," Tom tells us. "Since the beginning of civil aviation, goods and people could be transported faster across the continents. But the intensive networking of the world also means that diseases are spreading faster than ever before."
Tom also believes coronavirus could be seen as an act of revenge by nature on modern life. "In April 2020, worldwide air traffic has fallen dramatically. At many airports around the world, runways are closed and used as parking areas for grounded planes. The aeroplanes that were once a symbol of globalisation are now becoming a symbol of the current lockdown.
"As a global society, we can learn a lot from this crisis. The global supply chains that are currently interrupted should be reconsidered. Perhaps production must be brought back to the country where the products are sold. We should also ask ourselves whether it will still be necessary to fly halfway around the world for a meeting in future, or if this would also be possible via online conference."
Flying over four of Germany's airports so far, Tom says each one varies in its architecture and capacities but they all have things in common: "On the ground, an airport looks like pure chaos with people, vehicles, aeroplanes, baggage, all moving around in a giant network," Tom continues. "When looking at an airport from above, you really see order in this chaos. The lines on the ground, traffic signs, roads, runways, parking areas. It's a system that very much relies on rules, verbal and visual communication."
He's right, of course. The photographs are somewhat graphical, almost illustrative. Something that appeals to Tom, as he studied graphic design in a former life. "I am looking for clean compositions with geometric shapes, pattern, and lines," he says. "To me, the scenery is like a miniature world and it's a view of an airport, you usually don't get, so it's quite unfamiliar images. The concrete ground resembles the stage for all the elements and colours appearing in the scenery."