Leica Photography - China from a bird's eye perspective

From June 16th, 2015 visitors to the Chinese Cultural Centre Berlin can view an impressive exhibition of photographs of China taken from a bird's eye perspective. Historical pictures taken by aviation pioneer Wulf-Diether Graf zu (Count of) Castell-Rüdenhausen will be exhibited alongside contemporary photographs taken by the renowned architectural photographer HG Esch, in collaboration with Leica. However, contrary to Count Castell, HG Esch does not fly himself, but combines the camera technology of the Leica S, with a modern drone.

Wulf-Diether Graf zu (Count of) Castell-Rüdenhausen was born in 1905 in Berlin and worked from 1930 at Lufthansa as aircraft captain. While flying he photographed areas in China with his Leica, images that have not been widely shown in Europe before. The pictures are precious documents from a time when flying was still an adventure, and a selection of the unique photographs taken from the air were reproduced in Castell’s illustrated book “Chinaflug”, which was published in 1938.

Since Castell’s death the negatives of the pictures have been archived in the German Museum and in the Museum of Ethnology in Munich. After presenting the photographs at the Chinese Embassy in Berlin, a selection from the collection will be shown in cooperation with Leica at the Chinese Cultural Centre Berlin.

The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to the current image of China. The architectural photographer HG Esch has captured the rapid transformation of the metropolis of China in his breathtaking panoramas. HG Esch complements these urban panoramas with new landscape photographs taken from a bird's eye perspective. The landscape photographs were captured with a Leica S camera which was fixed onto a drone.

Following the exhibition in Berlin the pictures will go to China for a tour. The exhibits produced exclusive by Leica will be given to a Chinese museum.

Learn more about the project in an interview with HG Esch on the Leica blog.