shifting sands

Stunning aerial photos of US beaches reveal secret social patterns

Obsession
Design
Obsession
Design

When he’s hanging off the side of a helicopter that’s hovering 300 feet above a beach, Antoine Rose doesn’t always fully see what he’s shooting. Sometimes the Belgian-born photographer notices only later that the beach was a nude beach, for instance. But patterns emerge from his photos, offering totally unexpected views of familiar scenes.

In the shots here, which are all part of Rose’s ongoing series “Up in the Air,” you can tell a beach in Miami from one in New York simply by the colors and the level of chaos.

Miami’s beaches are often privately owned by hotels, with an ordered array of branded umbrellas:

Aerial photo of a beach in Miami
“Beach Candies” (detail), Miami(Antoine Rose)
Aerial photo of a Miami beach
“Orchestra” (detail), Miami(Antoine Rose)
Aerial photo of a Miami beach
“Bird and Bird” (detail), Miami(Antoine Rose)

Meanwhile, New York is a barely contained riot of color and motion:

Aerial photo of a beach in the Hamptons, New York
“Shoreline Study 1″ (detail), New York(Antoine Rose)
Aerial photo of a beach in the Hamptons, New York
“Shoreline Study 2″ (detail), New York(Antoine Rose)
An aerial photo of a beach in the Hamptons, New York
“Red Canopy” (detail), New York(Antoine Rose)
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