The view ‘From Above’

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First Posted: 4/1/2013

A bird’s eye view is best, and noted photographer Peter Stern has certainly captured such a concept.

“Pennsylvania From Above” is a 40-piece exhibit that comes to Misericordia University April 6 and runs through June 2.

The photographs capture obvious images from above, such as farms and towns, but some also depict not oft seen areas, like quarries and coal mining spots. Such areas where the earth has been altered are ideal for Stern.

“The elements of the earth – the coal, the shale, granite, and clay – have been removed from their secrecy within the earth and laid forth in aesthetic patterns to be seen from the air. These artistic elements then become palettes of color and texture to explore and construct into subject matter compositions,” he described.

The need to view things from above began in 2003 when Stern started to fly ultra-light airplanes, giving him access to a view that astounded him.

“Flying gives me a very unique view on the earth and has allowed me to create my own niche within the field of photography,” he noted.

Stern flies alone, as he flies low and in high winds or over hostile terrain. He said he would never want to risk another life while seeking out a photo.

Stern’s work has been displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. His home airport is in Stewartstown, and he began photographing the coal region because of the way it struck him visually.

“It’s a harsh and rugged and disfigured landscape, but holds so much beauty and complexity as well.”