Justina Burnett – Visualisation

The beach
The beach1
The beach2
Shadow Puppets
The beach3
Volleyball anyone?
The beach4
Seeking shade


Justina Burnett


My photographic practice is mostly landscapes. I completed an MA in Photography at LCC in 2010 and I support my practice by teaching a short course on digital photography at the V&A Museum.

This project documents people at play in the natural environment. The best place for the community to experience a collective and unselfconscious surrender to joy is the beach and so this became my starting point. I am interested too in how people move through public spaces.

I adopt a voyeuristic viewpoint by photographing directly above the subject from a helicopter. It frees my perspective and allows me to examine the flow of people on the beach and the abstract shapes in the landscape.

The image called ‘Tilted’ was taken on Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles. For the first photo shoot, the helicopter flew at around 800 feet above the beach. This is when I shot ‘Tilted’. I photograph at midday when the crowds and shadows are most pronounced, but you can see that the beach is never crowded. The harsh midday light and near perpendicular viewpoint serve to flatten the image and create a more abstract composition.

The remaining images were taken on my second flight where we were flying at a lower altitude.

I focused on LA’s beaches because they provide the perfect combination of built up playground and beach, for example: a skate park, a long winding cycle path, and volleyball players. I intend to document these same beaches over a period of time.

More recently, I started incorporating surfers in the sea.


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