In 1969, Robert Cameron (1911–2009) began leaning out of a helicopter with his Pentax 6×7 cm camera to shoot city- and landscapes above his beloved Bay Area. Since WWII, when Cameron worked for the War Department as a civilian assigned to take aerial night shots of exploding ordnance and tracers, aerial photography was his passion. With his masterful take on exposure, color, and composition, Cameron captured iconic structures and landmarks alongside the dazzling beaches and undulating terrain that comprises Northern California. Accompanying Cameron’s exquisite and genre-defining aerial shots are photographs taken in the last decade, picking up the torch after Cameron’s death. Since his first iconic images were made, we look back at Cameron’s stunning aerials, noticing how much has changed, but also noting how much has stayed the same.
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