Photographer Martine Perret took to the air for a unique look at the landscapes of regional Western Australia. (Supplied: Martine Perret)
Is this a painting or a photograph?
It is a question many people have asked photographer Martine Perret, who has put together a body of work that turns the landscapes of Western Australia into something that could comfortably on the wall of any art gallery.
Taking to the skies over WA over the past three years, Perret has captured a view of WA that very few people get to see.
“Basically, I’ve been flying above various regions — the Goldfields, Shark Bay, Derby, Broome,” she said.
“It’s the most amazing and unique perspective; the colours and patterns and shapes … almost like paintings.
“In the Goldfields it’s obviously more the red or purple, but if you go to Shark Bay it’s turquoise and blue which is amazing as well.”
While the pictures might look like they are taken from a drone, Perret shoots the old fashioned way — working out of airplanes and helicopters with a camera.
Working within aviation regulations, she uses differing heights and times of day to capture remarkable variations in the landscape.
Aerial photography developed during UN work
Perret’s latest work, recently published in her new book Beyond: Above Western Australia, is a far cry from where her career has taken her.
After working as a freelance photographer in Sydney, she spent a decade working for the United Nations, documenting civil war and human tragedy in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
More recently she worked in West Africa capturing images of the Ebola crisis which struck the region in 2014.
It was there her passion for aerial photography first took shape.
“I worked 10 years in the UN, and with the UN you fly a lot,” Perret said.
“Sometimes the roads are not passable. There’s checkpoints, there could be dangerous items on the road … you could potentially be ambushed.”
Hopes to capture the rest of WA
While safety and security dictated her flights in Sudan and the Western Sahara, Perret decided she wanted to fly and tell her own story.
Settling in Margaret River in south-west WA, she began capturing that region’s landscape from the sky, eventually self-publishing her first collection of photos from the area in 2014.
Since then, she has set her lens on WA’s Goldfields, taking part in Ngala Wongga, or Come Talk — a wider project documenting speakers of the region’s endangered native languages.
She said she wanted to continue to capture the state as a whole from the air.
“I think I’ll do it bit-by-bit,” Perret said.
“The first reactions have been great. People absolutely love it so I’m thrilled.”