Harmony and isolation captured in 1940s-inspired aerial photographs by Brad Walls
Aerial photographer Brad Walls has unveiled his latest series, 'Detached, in Harmony', drawing inspiration from the pandemic, as well as work by the renowned 1940s fashion photographer, Clifford Coffin, who produced some of Vogue's most influential pictures of all time.
Walls, who was behind the popular Pools From Above series, first set his sights on conceptual photography when he noticed a distinct lack of aerial-based photography in the genre. As he explains, "Conceptual photography is mostly shot on handheld cameras, but I wanted to showcase the value of an alternate viewpoint to convey a meaningful story."
In this latest work, Walls hopes to mirror the state of the world during the pandemic as well as our collective experience of how distant and repetitive life had become during lockdowns. He presents these concepts using repetition, symmetry of figures, and negative space throughout – a trademark style that can be seen elsewhere in his work.
Each frame is carefully arranged, placing the model at even lengths and highlighting the shadow cast to reflect our solitude and the darkness of the last 18 months. The models are often posed mid-movement, which only adds to the uniformity and surrealism of the series. "The figures are purposefully static, to symbolise how we have been frozen in time," explains Walls.
Anyone familiar with classic Vogue spreads might be able to see further inspiration courtesy of legendary 1940s fashion photographer, Clifford Coffin, and his famous 'Models Sitting on Sand Dunes' series. There are similarities, certainly, but Walls' display of melancholic loneliness is somewhat balanced by warmer hues and brighter blue skies, suggesting better days are on the horizon. "We all belong to something that separates us. It's a sort of melancholic irony," adds Walls.
'Detached, in Harmony' was placed second in the 2021 Fine Art Photography Awards 'Conceptual' category, and placed silver in both the prestigious PX3 awards and Moscow Fine Art Awards of 2021. Walls currently plans to exhibit 'Detached, in Harmony' in a solo exhibition in 2022, so follow his updates to find out more.