The World from Above: Menno Aden's 'Room Portraits'

The World from Above: Menno Aden's 'Room Portraits'

Nancy Mitchell
Feb 22, 2013

During last month's January Cure, we encouraged you to get a new perspective on your living room by sitting somewhere you don't usually sit. In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams' character encourages his students to stand on his desk to view the classroom (and, metaphorically, the world) from a new angle. Photographer Menno Aden has taken this to a new level (quite literally!) with his strangely surreal shots of rooms as seen from above. 

Aden calls these 'room portraits', because, as he explained to Slate's David Rosenberg, "watching from a higher position on a small space is interesting because I can see someone's 'compressed personality.' " To create the 'portraits', Aden fastens a camera with a wide-angle lens to the ceiling of a room and takes pictures straight down. The results are strangely uncluttered -- with the third dimension removed, the objects in a room seem peaceful and deliberate, as if placed on an architect's floor plan. 

At first glance, I thought there was something strangely impersonal about staring down at the tops of things, as if the perspective forces you not see things as they really are. But the more I looked the more I found myself drawn in. I think part of the appeal of these photographs to me is that they remind me of my childhood passion for dollhouses. There's something fascinating, and, I think, oddly comforting about being able to see every object in a room at one time. Seen from above, a bedroom or living room or even a shoe store resolves into a perfect little miniature world. 

To see more of Menno Aden's room portraits, you can visit his website

via Slate

(Images: Menno Aden)

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