Kacper Kowalski (b. 1977, Poland) has been observing and photographing landscapes from aerial perspective for over 25 years. After becoming an architect and having worked in the profession for four years, he eventually decided to commit to flying and photography - his true passions. As a paraglider, a pilot of small aircrafts and a gyrocopter, Kacper would fly into the air with an engine strapped to his back to discover the world of forms, shapes, and patterns during lonely flights. Altogether he spent over 5000 hours in the air. Constantly fighting with the natural forces: wind and air currents, when he photographs from 150m above the ground level, he finds himself in an almost meditative state, when the nature and surroundings reveal not only abstract forms to him, but also seem to communicate with him with the language of symbols that appear on his photographs. The flight is for Kowalski not only a way to capture the world beneath, but becomes a spiritual journey that reveals universal truths about the relationship between man and nature, about the past and the present, and about one’s own personal truth and the way to get there.
He has received numerous awards, including the World Press Photo award (three times), the Picture of the Year International POYi award (six times), and dozens of others. His first book, Side Effects, was published in 2014, OVER was self-published in 2017, followed by Arché in 2021. His works have been exhibited several hundred times in group and solo exhibitions all over the world, and the books have won and have been nominated to the most prestigious prizes, including Les Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles.
He is represented by Panos Pictures, REZO Agency, and galleries: Bildhalle in Amsterdam and Zurich, and Atlas Gallery in London.
„I was a teenager when I got my pilot’s license. Much has changed over the twenty-five years since then. Film photography has been replaced by the digital matrix, and people in the air have been displaced by drones. Today, the whole world is photographed and accessible on the phone. Every last scrap of the map has been analyzed and reproduced in a thousand different
I am still drawn to the air, maybe because, in this way, I fulfill the eternal human dream of being able to fly. Or maybe I am afraid that drones will soon take over altogether and human aviation will become a thing of the past. I continue to wander the skies, concentrating more on what I feel when I see than on what I see and know about the world. I search for impressions that will remain in my imagination after I’ve stopped looking. It is my ritual: I enter a state of meditation or mindfulness and then I take pictures.
I am an architect by training; my profession has shaped my way of seeing. I analyze the contents of a landscape and present the results in the form of abstract, harmonious images. Sometimes they resemble drafts containing complex information; other times they look like maps with traces of human activity imprinted on the structure of the Earth. More and more, they present a world that is abstract and detached from reality, but nonetheless true. I express the emotions, impressions and reflections that come to me during my solitary flights.”