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Above & Beyone

Michael Layefsky

Technology has always had a way of changing art.  Michael Layefsky, a Berkeley photographer has a technique to attach modern digital cameras and radio controls to the older technologies of kites and large helium balloons to create sky-high photographs that formerly only birds could take.

For the past eight years, Berkeley photographer Michael Layefsky has been pursuing the art of Kite Aerial Photography (also called KAP). Layefsky, an epidemiologist by trade, was always a fan of kites and photography. It was when he discovered the KAP techniques of local UC Berkeley architecture professor Cris Benton that he realized he could combine them. Drawn to the familiar and yet exotic images he could make this way, he studied photography at Berkeley City College to advance his craft.

Now, with dozens of images licensed by Getty Images, Michael Layefsky has found his passion for aerial photography more popular than ever, allowing him to devote more of his time to photography as an art and a business as well.

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Michael Layefsky Self Portrait

The artist in repose.(above)
The artist with balloon (below)

Michael Layefsky at Claremont Hotel Berkeley


Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Grapefruit orchards, Hemet, California

Sunset at the University of California, Berkeley

October 29 to March 2, 2013
Artist's Reception
Saturday, Dec 1st    2 to 5 pm

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Artist's Statement
Most of us have dreamt we were flying at one time or another. I believe this stems from our innate desire to view the world from an omniscient vantage point.

Iíve been taking photographs and flying kites for much of my life. Several years ago, I discovered that I could combine these interests and learned to fly a kite with a digital camera attached to my kite line. This enables me to take aerial photographs, satisfying an intense urge to view things from above. After several years of exclusively using kites, I recently started lifting my camera with a large helium balloon on days with no wind.

I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 30 years and continue to draw inspiration from everyday life here. I take aerial photographs of a wide range of subjects including landscapes, cityscapes and architectural subjects, as well as agricultural, industrial, and nautical subjects.

 Though the vast majority of my aerial photographs have been taken in the Bay Area, I have also had the good fortune to have flown my kite and camera in other parts of the U.S., and in the skies above several Asian and European countries.

My primary interest is to continue capturing images from the birdís-eye perspective. I find it a compelling vantage point from which to view the world, at the same time familiar and exotic.

Summer salt flats

Downtown ballpark

Harvested rice fields, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

2235 Fifth Street, Berkeley, California USA 94710
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