SHIFTING SANDS

Stunning aerial photos of US beaches reveal secret social patterns

“Turquoise” (detail), Miami, from the series “Up in the Air”
“Turquoise” (detail), Miami, from the series “Up in the Air”
Image: Antoine Rose
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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
Image: Antoine Rose
Aerial photo of a Miami beach
“Orchestra” (detail), Miami
Image: Antoine Rose
Aerial photo of a Miami beach
“Bird and Bird” (detail), Miami
Image: 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
Image: Antoine Rose
Aerial photo of a beach in the Hamptons, New York
“Shoreline Study 2” (detail), New York
Image: Antoine Rose
An aerial photo of a beach in the Hamptons, New York
“Red Canopy” (detail), New York
Image: Antoine Rose