-)-S WISS AIR Selling the World from the Air Wie sich die Welt aus der Vogelperspektive verkauft Comment vendre Ie monde entier du haut du ciel Georg Gerster [Deutscher Text: Seite 358] [Texte frangais: page 360] At home in all skies, Georg Gersterauthor of this article and of the photographs that accompany itwas clearly predestined to supply images for the advertising of Swissair, the airline of his Swiss homeland. Georg Gerster did not begin as a photo grapher, but took a doctorate in German literature and philology at Zurich Uni versity in 1956. Fate, however, had other things in store for him. Turning to photo graphy as a journalist, he gradually developed into one of the first great aerial photo graphers of our time, and one who has opened our eyes to a category of beauty previously unimagined. He has written and photographed for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the National Geographic Magazine and many other newspapers and periodicals and has published numerous travel books. The Swissair posters shown here are the result of teamwork by Emil Schulthess, Fritz Girardin and Georg Gerster, who supplied all the photographs. Editor A dvertising for travel and tourism by means of photographs is beset J. A. by various dangers; those who circumnavigate the rocky Charybdis of the hackneyed image may easily be engulfed by the Scylla of self- centred aestheticism. Aerial shots from medium heights, which permit an unusual and compelling approach without violating the factual iden tity of their object, offer an ideal way out of this dilemma and are ob viously an inviting choice for airline promotion. They tread a visually stimulating path that lies somewhere between information and abstrac tion. And if a partisan may venture an opinion, the double echo evoked by these aerial posters and their dual effect seem to show that the path leads to successthe graphic qualities of the posters have been honoured by distinctions in international contests, and many teachers have used them for their geography lessons and other educational purposes. When a country or continent is selected by the advertising depart ment of Swissair for presentation in an aerial poster, the idea is not so much to show its real features as to conjure up its associations. But the new visualization of some known landmarkan easily identified monu ment, say can only be a last resort. This means in practice that the photographer has to go out and look for his motifs. Sometimes a study of spacecraft photographs provides a clue; I first discovered the clusters of irrigation roundabouts in north-east Nebraska, for instance, on a Skylab shot, and a subsequent aerial picture yielded a new US poster. Ideas can also be picked up by observing the earth from the windows of jet airliners. But in most cases motifs have to be hunted for in char tered aircraft. To keep costs down, I renounce the comforts of heli copters and prefer to work from Cessna high-wing planes of models 150 to 206. I leave one door of the plane on the ground and lean out. This is a somewhat draughty method, but it guarantees a perpendicular down ward view without any troublesome technical expedients or complicated flying manoeuvres. I work exclusively with 3 5-mm cameras held by hand; 356 Georg Gerster, Autor des nachfolgenden Artikels und der Photographier iiik 1» alien Himmeln zuhause und klar pradestiniert, Luftaufnahmen für die Werbu hv Swissair, die Luftlinie seines Heimatlandes, zu liefern. Seine Karriere begann :m..; Gerster nicht als Photograph, sondern er doktorierte 1956 in deutscher J j'terat an. J Philologie in Zürich. Als Journalist beschaftigte er sich auch mit Photograph p=rM;o2< entwickelte sich allmahlich zu einem der ersten grossen Luftphotographen L'fioi .ri Zeit, der mit wachem Auge die bisher ungeahnten Schönheiten der Erde vontest." J entdeckt. Er schreibt und photographiert für die Neue Zürcher ZEiTtB^tjhi National Geographic Magazine und viele andere Periodika. Er vcröffer. fftö t auch zahlreiche Photobande über seine Reisen. Die hier gezeigten Swissair-fk'ssAt sind das Resultat einer Zusammenarbeit zwischen Emil Schulthess, Fritz Girard niv. 1 Georg Gerster, der alle Aufnahmen machte. Redaktion to save flying time, I have up to ten of them loaded and ready vhh reach, some of them motorized models. After many years of improvisation along these lines I could tell mo .ok seemingly tall stories about the powers of persuasion it takes tcgztvu: pilots to reduce their aircraft to a skeleton of itself. As for my insu go company, they must by now have their own interpretation of the 'jck 1 phrase Gone with the Winda camera case over the Sahara, an exp'.ize s meter over the Great Barrier Reef, a wide-angle lens over the Cajjk idï Good Hope. And so forth. The key to a good picture is accordingly more search than rese 33. But even the luckiest strike, a graphically wholly satisfying shot o be \3 country concerned, is often not enough. We all, for example, hat 21 idea of California, whether we have been there or not, but a motif ite n. the real California may be quite out of tune with it. To get pas u; selection team, each find must therefore fall within a certain fie. ft: 1.2. expectation which it is not easy to define. An erosional structure I23 r come across in the Mesopotamian lowlands, with something dra ah git: like about it, had great poster impact; but if the words 'Middle East iT been printed over it, the combination would have taken on a suggei^f ja j of something slightly uncanny and menacingnot exactly the purpo ta 3 travel promotionA poster series of this kind is almost a living orgarsp;: 3 g and every limb has to fit naturally into place. The aerial pictures I am looking for are statements and signs-'in 1 wonder that in our own changing times their message is not alwtr/k to constant. The picture of the freeways of Los Angeles, used for the til :oi US poster, once summed up beautifully the American way of life id o the hope of salvation from our traffic impasse. Today, when fear forutr ssi environment has altered the field of expectation, it is rather the stuff ib: 3fJ nightmares are made of, and the poster has consequently been taken ut xi of circulation.

Graphis de | 1976 | | page 50