Abstract Earth

There is a great diversity within photography and each photographer chooses the avenue that best suits them. For me, it is the aerial view. Landscapes have fascinated me ever since I arrived in Australia from Holland in 1951. The landscape was new to me and seemed endless. My first flight was in the 50s, flying from Perth to Derby in a DC3 Dakota aircraft. We had to fly low, since the plane was not pressurised. This gave me my first aerial impressions of the outback.

To some people flying is a way of getting from A to B, but for me it is an opportunity to observe the landscape from a different perspective. It is quite surprising how revealing the landscape can be, even from a commercial jet. Commercial flights give me overall views during which I make mental notes of certain areas that I later want to fly over in a smaller aircraft. Then, between 500 and 1,000 metres, I am able to observe the country in detail and photograph its unique characteristics.

I like to show nature in its true form because I feel that by manipulating the photograph, the natural world’s real identity can be lost. The aerial point of view has compounded my appreciation of Australia's landscape's diversity. I do not use any enhancement, digital or otherwise, as there are millions of images before me already. Each journey becomes a flight of discovery as the countryside below tells something about its natural history and evolution. The challenge for me is how to interpret the complexity of information before me.

Everything – rivers, coasts, mountains, plains and deserts – changes with the seasons and with the light at different times of the day. As much as possible, I like to be inspired by what I see: this is where I experience a sense of wonderment of a world so complex, varied and beautiful. I emphasise the highlights by pointing the camera down and focusing on the subject, excluding the horizon so one loses a point of reference. At the same time, I try my best to convey the reality of what is below me. These photographs are abstract, in a way, but they are also real pictures of the earth we live on.

—Richard Woldendorp