Photographer Jeffrey Milstein sees the world from a different angle. In his new book, LA NY, Milstein photographs two of the biggest and well-known cities in the United States, Los Angeles and New York, from above.
Milstein got his pilots license at age 17. He would fly around LA with an 8mm movie camera and film out the window. Six years ago, he turned his passion for shooting from above into a profession.
“I switched into photography from being an architect and a CEO of a company that I had started in the 80s,” said Milstein. “I ended up gravitating toward things that I liked—particularly aviation. I did a series of aircrafts shot from underneath when they were landing. And after doing that I started thinking, what other things could be interesting? So I decided to shoot giant cruise ships from the air. Then I did airports and then cities.”
Milstein uses a combination of helicopters and his own Cessna 182 plane to get the shots. With a pilot and a high resolution camera mounted to a stabilizing gyro, Milstein is able to lean out of the aircraft and see the shapes and patterns of the world. The lower shots are done from the helicopter and the higher ones with the small airplane.
“It’s kind of an interest I’ve always had—how the world looks from above,” he says. I like to see how things connect. It’s sort of like you get an understating of the world in a different way, from above.” He has shot above iconic buildings (including the Empire State Building), the Hollywood sign, residential and commercial neighborhoods, airports, parks, and cargo ships.
In addition to Los Angeles and New York, Milstein has also shot over London, Miami, and New Jersey (Milstein shot a Fortune 500 issue cover in June, 2016 highlighting the success of home builder NVR homes in Northern New Jersey). He hopes Paris will be next.
Being an architect has certainly given him a view of the world that some people don’t see. “When flying across the country I like to look out the window and see the geography and the layout of the city and how it connects to farmlands, and the trains, and where they put their airports. I find it fascinating to think about how cities have formed.”
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