Dinesh Boaz’s exhibition “At 1000 Feet” at the Robin Rice Gallery in New York is like a good yoga session for your eyeballs. Large-format dye sublimation prints of aerial views of Hawaii, Israel, Arizona, California and Key West hold a lingering tranquility as they flow throughout the gallery.
From Hawaii to Sri Lanka, Boaz captures the bliss of empty beaches and the open ocean, highlighting patterns and fast-changing colors that play well together.
As a photographer, Boaz defies a traditional approach to perspective and instead situates himself quite literally in the sky above. The resulting work is arresting. Each image captured by Boaz offers his audiences a rare composition of both nature and civilization.
Originally a recording studio owner and music producer in New York City, Boaz became an avid aerial photographer almost entirely by accident after he won a “doors off” helicopter ride over Manhattan that opened his eyes to a new realm of experience. The oddity of what he saw sparked a deep fascination that led Boaz to return again and again to the cramped cockpits of such helicopters.
He surveys terrain and develops concepts in real time as colors and textures flood into sight during each ride. Working under the throbbing sounds of the propellers overhead, Boaz directs the pilot over radio and creates spontaneous images of calm amidst chaos.
Dinez spoke to PDN when he was on solid ground:
PDN: What do you look for when you’re up there? In other words – what on the ground draws your attention and makes you think it will make a good image?
Dinesh Boaz: I look at colors, patterns, curves, textures and any distinct features on the ground, sand, rocks or in the water to capture in each shoot. I also look at the interplay between all these ideas of what’s below from both a wide landscape view to also a closer in view to capture very subtle ideas that emerge within the larger landscape. Once I see the shot I want to go after, I coordinate the altitude, angles, and location over the radio with my pilot. We work in sync to time each shot and get the helicopter to bank turn to get the angle I am looking for on each location. All these elements have to align in to result in the ‘top down’ view of what I capture.
I also come from a background of sound so I seek out sound in my photos; I look to find those symbiotic patterns and fast-changing colors that play together in rhythm, similar to the layers that make up a beat.
PDN: What about beaches and the ocean inspires you?
DB: My work over the past few years started out with busy and bustling wide views of beachscapes but has evolved into finding those moments within these locations of bliss, calm and an intimate connection to the world around us. Some of the new work I shot featured in the show from the Dead Sea in Israel, and from Key West, Florida showcases this idea of emptiness and stillness and highlights the magnitude of the landscape we are surrounded by.
PDN: What equipment do you use (and any tips to go with them)?
DB: I shoot with two cameras and work between a Medium Format Fuji GFX 50s with a 32-64mm F4 lens and a Sony A7RIV with a 70-200mm F2.8 lens. I also started shooting with the Fuji GFX 100. I like the speed of how I can work with the Sony. The Medium format color range and depth is so special though – and this is my go to for a lot of my new work. I tend to keep my aperture in between F7.1 to F9 and keep the shutter fairly fast to avoid any motion blur. I like to have the pilot take a few different passes on each location to capture different angles, heights and approaches.
This is the India-born, New York-bred photographer’s first solo show.