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Britain from the air

Arbor Low, the Peak District Arbor Low, the Peak District Webb Aviation
25 May
The outdoor exhibition of some of Britain’s best aerial photography comes to London for the first time

‘Our landscape is like a whiteboard – written over many times with faint, tantalising traces left behind,’ reads an anonymous quote beside a photo of Arbor Low, a Stone Age monument in Derbyshire. On the ground, the site is too large to make sense of. From above, it is possible to see the entire footprint of a site that has hosted 5,000 years of human activity.

It is one of nearly 100 images at the Britain from the Air exhibition, which brings together the best of the nation’s aerial photography. The collection comes to London for the first time – after previous tours in Oxford, Bath, Edinburgh and Leeds – and provocative shots of nesting gannets and rolling wind turbines lead visitors in from Exhibition Road to the Royal Geographical Society (with IGB) itself. Its outdoor gallery showcases British geography in a way that only height can. Height means that a dawn landscape of frosty Cumbrian hills, formed by glacier deposits, can be compared with a portrait of Hadrian’s wall, once the border of the Roman Empire. Height shows the advance and retreat of glaciers and empires alike.

BassRockBass Rock in the Forth of Firth, Scotland. What the world’s largest colony of Northern Gannets call home (Image: Jason Hawkes)

CumbriaThese hummocky fields in the Yorkshire Dales, are deposits left by glaciers that once advanced and retreated across these lowlands (Image: Webb Aviation)

kentcoastThe Redsands Sea Fort was built to protect the mouth of the Thames from invasion during WWII (Image: Webb Aviation)

72 Brecon Beacons Wales c Adrian Warren and Dae SasitornThe Brecon Beacons, Wales (Image: Adrian Warren and Dae Sasitorn)

broadbenchBroadbench on the Jurassic Coast, the only place in the world where by walking along the beach you can walk back 185 million years of evolution (Image: David White)

The exhibition is free and will be on show at the Society from 12 May to 12 July 2016

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