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An aerial photograph of a beach in Miami
Antoine Rose
“Turquoise” (detail), Miami, from the series “Up in the Air”
SHIFTING SANDS

Stunning aerial photos of US beaches reveal secret social patterns

By Michael Silverberg

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:

Antoine Rose
“Beach Candies” (detail), Miami
Antoine Rose
“Orchestra” (detail), Miami
Antoine Rose
“Bird and Bird” (detail), Miami

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

Antoine Rose
“Shoreline Study 1” (detail), New York
Antoine Rose
“Shoreline Study 2” (detail), New York
Antoine Rose
“Red Canopy” (detail), New York