British photographer Tommy Clarke leans well outside the cockpit of a helicopter to photograph beachscapes from an almost perpendicular angle. That way, drifting yellow boats or the course of the Ironman in Hawaii become graphical structures – the transition between the beach teeming with people and turquoise sea appears as an ordered pattern. We are unaccustomed to seeing the scenery in this way, and we feel an urge to decipher it. At the same time, however, our eyes simply soak in the beauty of it all.
Clarke’s first helicopter photograph was of Bondi Beach in Sydney. He has since flown over beaches all around the world. The photographer painstakingly plans every shoot, scouting potentially suitable stretches of the coast with Google Earth. While taking photographs, Clarke is primarily fascinated by the interactions between colors. “No one would go to the beach with a beige towel, beige beach brolly, and beige swimsuit. Instead we all get out the brightest colours we have and sprawl ourselves along the sand.”
Self-taught photographer Tommy Clarke grew up on the southern coast of England. He started his career at GQ and his work has appeared in renowned magazines such as the British Journal of Photography, Conde Nast Traveller, and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2015, Clarke was named the International Landscape Photographer of the Year. He lives in London.