At first glance, Zack Seckler’s aerial views of Iceland read like pure blue abstractions. Shades of light and dark pour over each other in swooping, liquid forms. A closer look reveals the wind-textured ocean surface, open and dotted with waves or frozen over, alternating with patches of dark sand and rock. In this cold landscape, Seckler catches a surprising scattering of wildlife—birds and seals, above and below the water’s surface. In groups or alone, seals swim or lounge on the shore, and birds hover close to the water’s surface, casting dark shadows that echo their flying, v-shaped forms. His images are on view at Robin Rice Gallery in New York City in a show opening March 16 and running until May 8.
Seckler, a photojournalist-turned-commercial photographer, has worked with animals before—his bright, graphic “Birds” series, inspired by the aesthetics of John James Audubon and Henri Rousseau, was shot in the studio and pieced together digitally. He has also applied the same aerial technique to wildlife in Botswana, shooting zebras from the same type of super-light, two-person plane he used in Iceland. Shooting from the air, he was seduced by the possibilities of abstraction, he says. “I liken it to being over a giant painting and being able to create brushstrokes. I used my frame to create images out of that huge open canvas,” he said in an interview “The landscape hovered on the line of things looking very real and recognizable and being more abstract. That’s what really drew me in, the line between abstraction and reality.”