Rape Fields. File lrom Shadow oi Heaven. In colour. the stinging yellow oi the rape crop contrasts geometrically with the surrounding green and background sea.
Lochan Vaine below the Angel's Peak in the Cairngorms. The loch in this mountain quarry is as deep as a black hole.
Braided riverand ancient pines. Glen Feshie. Cairngorms. This remarkable view throws up the twists ol the river Iikethe markings of an antelope.
Sky-writing somewhere over the rooftops. Julie Morrice makes an unscheduled flight with aerial photographer Patricia Macdonald and her husband Angus.
Hying. Not in the stuffy comfort of a British Airways charabanc. but the real thing. the Wright stuff. Hanging in the sky in a leather-weight airfix tusselled by the wind. leaning out over the ls‘lle‘s eye view of pretty -patterned lidinburgh: the privileged perspective of gods and tow n-planners.
‘Sometimes I don't want to come down’. says Patricia Macdonald. Suspended with her in the fragile
G'l‘he List 1‘) May— 1 June 198‘)
frame of an aircraft piloted by her husband Angus Macdonald. I can understand. It is intoxicating. From above. the hemmed-in habitat of the ground-dwellers takes on symmetry and sense. All is revealed. yet distanced. simplified.
Patricia Macdonald‘s aerial photographs have the freshness of the first—time experience. and the pleasing construction uniquely open to airborne photographers. but for Macdonald. the picturesque quality
of her work is a double-edged sword:
‘lt‘s daiigcrotis. Like all photography. it can make anything look pretty. or l'ot'tttalise it . ‘ The immediate graphic appeal of her work which turns branching rivers into the charcoal marks of cave-painting. the clefts of the (ireat (ilen into the wrinkled skin of a sleeping giant. is akin to the
blinkered overviewofarchitects. which sees beauty in looping tarmac and sense in regular rows of box-like houses.
Bouncing over the bumpy air between Musselburgh and Arthur‘s Seat. this l.-p|ated pilot took the wheel. ('hildish glee at table-top golf—courses and broccoli-top trees turned to responsible concern for the steadiness of the horizon and the twitchingofthe controls. A turn through 18” degrees was a slow. tentative manoeuvre. bending the plane gently round. nervous of slipping down the sheer side of nothingness. l’nder the practised hand of Angus Macdonald. the (‘essna took on a new life. circling the castle. hovering over the green depths of Princes Street (iardens. twisting and diving around the squares and circuses of the New
linyironmental and social concerns support the surface charm of Macdonald's work. She mentions Yin and Yang. Krishna and Shiva: ‘All these things are there. but it doesn‘t matter if you don't see them.’ Her photographs use subtle juxtaposition to explore the inhabited world. The scrapings and shovellings of Man. his abuse of the natural landscape and creation of another. less random. less alive. are caught and considered. ()fcoursc. says Macdonald. you can't draw a line between what is acceptable use of the land and what is not: ‘We just hope the pictures will make a few people think about these things. They are important'. Projects for environmental agencies are a significant part of Macdonald's work. Flights over the (‘airngorms to