Eye in the Sky: Evan Anderman captures images of the Colorado plains from above

Most local lens-folk point their cameras west to the Rockies. Evan Anderman likes to cast his gaze east — and down.

“I was born and raised in Denver and spent a lot of time out [on the plains] growing up,” says Anderman. 

Childhood duck-hunting trips along the South Platte River with his dad gave him an early appreciation for the often overlooked landscapes on Colorado’s eastern plains. He’s also interested on the impact of agriculture and industry on the region and its subtle beauty.

“About a year and a half ago, I figured my airplane was a good platform to look at how we’re using the land out there,” says Anderman, a self-described “social-landscape” photographer. “If you look a little harder at something, you see it differently.”

Here’s his modus operandi: He flies his six-seat Cessna 206 east and looks for photogenic landscapes, whether they’re farms, ranches or wide-open grasslands. When he sees something he likes, he puts the plane on autopilot, cracks the window and starts snapping shots — but “makes sure everything is safe” first and foremost.

Season to season

He’s far from done with his aerial shots of the plains. “I’m still working on the series,” he says. “I try to go up once or twice a week.”

He’s been documenting the Army’s impact on Piñon Canyon near La Junta and spending a lot of time between Fort Morgan  and Limon. “There’s a big variety of things going on,” he says of the latter area. “It’s interesting how it changes from week to week, month to month and season to season. It’s fascinating how quickly things can change.”

Anderman says he’s also drawn to the Pawnee Buttes northeast of Greeley, but says it’s a prime example of ongoing change. “It’s being overrun by an oilfield,” he notes.

Another phenomenon that’s caught his eye involves urban expansion and change. “I have this theory that we live on islands,” says Anderman. “People fly between big cities, and hop from island to island, but they rarely drive. The frontier is where the suburbs are.”

Anderman became a full-time art photographer after working as a geologist, largely sitting at a computer doing groundwater modeling. “That wasn’t very rewarding for me,” he says. So he switched career gears in 2005 and dove into his childhood love of photography. 

The Colorado plains have turned out  to be his muse. “There’s stuff happening out there,” he says. “Even though it looks desolate, it’s not.”

“Imposition,” Anderman’s show at theCarmen Wiederhoft Gallery at 3542 Walnut St. in RiNo, runs until Oct. 18. Anderman is speaking at the gallery at 2 p.m. on Sept. 27. He also has an exhibit at Denver International Airport in the reception area of the business office in Concourse A that runs through Apr. 2015.

This story originally appeared in Confluence Denver here.