Alex Maclean at West Houston Airport. Photo: Raj Mankad.

Horizon Lines: Aerial Photographs of Houston by Alex Maclean

The new issue of Cite, number 95, features photographs by Alex Maclean, an award-winning aerial photographer and author of 11 books.

I rode alongside Maclean in a Cessna on one of his flights last June. From the air Houston looks like a giant game board. You can see how the Energy Corridor is sandwiched between two vast reservoirs. I-10 ripples across the city. We travel from Beltway 8 to the Galleria to Downtown in minutes.

When Maclean approaches his shot, he takes his hands off the yoke, leans his head out the airplane window, and his feet work the rudder pedals until his lens points at the perfect angle.

We picked photos for publication that are, at first, confounding. Just as you make sense of the image, caught somewhere between awe and analysis, there is a little opening to see anew.

The images show a city in the middle of upheaval. Construction. Expansion. Density. The same dizzying patterns emerge across commercial, residential, and industrial landscapes.

By the end of the trip I made with Maclean, I had sweat through my clothes. Let me tell you, not everything about Houston looks great from the air. The uncanny charm of this city is lost. You are confronted with the raw power of the economy.

The photoessay by Alex Maclean that fills the new Cite issue will not be published online. If you want to see these photographs, subscribe to Cite, join the Rice Design Alliance, or look for copies in independent bookstores. Check offcite.org for more information.

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      […] Alex Maclean at West Houston Airport. Photo: Raj Mankad.The new issue of Cite, number 95, features photographs by Alex Maclean, an award-winning aerial photographer and author of 11 books.  […]