Shooting through an airplane window with a 35mm camera, Alex MacLean’s aerial views of housing in America effectively survey where and how Americans choose to live, and make a statement about both individual and collective values. Foremost among MacLean’s observations of urban and suburban housing developments is the tremendous lack of diversity with respect to design and architecture. Economic, regulatory, and commercial trends conspire to make new housing homogeneous and undifferentiated from one part of the country to the next.
Pilot and photographer Alex MacLean has flown his plane over much of the United States documenting the landscape. Trained as an architect, he has portrayed the history and evolution of the land from vast agricultural patterns to city grids, recording changes brought about by human intervention and natural processes. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments.
Alex MacLean earned a BA from Harvard College (1969) and a Master in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1973). He began aerial photography as part of a graduate study on community planning, and obtained his commercial pilot license in 1975. He was awarded National Endowment for the Arts Design Grants in 1980 and 1990. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Kansas City Design Center, Missouri; and Les Rencontres d’Arles 33rd Annual International Photo Festival, Arles, France. He lives near Boston.