Field developed a grid system using gps, the altitude of the place, and the land being photographed to name the photographs. Above is 1-F PARK. PHOTO: CALLAN FIELD

A view from above

In Arts & Life, Multimedia, Photos /

By Lindsay Boeckl

Many photography students use Kijiji to find models, props, and locations to photograph. But fourth-year photography student Callan Field didn’t go to the site for anything that ordinary. He was looking for a pilot.

Livan Pujada, a Toronto-based pilot, responded to Field and the two have been collaborating since September 2012. The images Field took on those flights as well as years of shooting on commercial flights have resulted in Blueprints, an exhibition at the student-run IMA Gallery.

While some images of twirling roads, packed parking lots and an empty soccer field are printed on semitransparent vellum and pinned to the wall, others are are folded and sitting on plinths around the gallery.

“There are seven [photos] that are on plinths so people can open them up and interact with them like maps,” Field said.

“The majority of the prints have been [folded and unfolded] and are on the walls nailed in, again to make them appear more like maps,” he said. “The creases are still visible and it creates subtle shadows and ripples in the prints.”

“It’s not a way that you would almost ever see photographs displayed [in a gallery].”

But the aerial photographs weren’t always displayed as they are at 80 Spadina now. The series originated as a set of cyanotypes, a printing process that uses a chemical makeup which gives the final print a blue tint.

The project really got its legs when Field decided take even more images for a book making assignment.

“That project gave me the kick in the butt to work with a pilot,” Field said. “And then having that freedom to decide where to go and what to look at and really having control of the plane.”

Field, a Calgary native, spent two years studying environmental science at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick before he decided to switch majors and study photography at Ryerson.

While his studies of environmental science helped with his research for the series, Field was more interested in observing the man-made lines of the Earth compared to the natural ones.

“The only thing that creates such straight lines, especially viable from space or from an elevated perspective are humans,” Field said. “The curves, or the spheres or any other [man-made] thing that isn’t straight has this geometric perfection to it that really you don’t see naturally. There is always some imperfections or deviations to it. Whereas even our curved lines are still almost perfect.”

Blueprints is on display until Feb. 1.

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