Franck Simonnet – Aerial Photography


Powered paragliding surfAerial photography offers a vantage point-of-view on landscape. I have a special interest in patterns generate by human activities, and their spatial organization in relation to nature.
My flying machine is a powered paraglider. Packed in two suitcases, it's easily transported around the world. Aerial photography in remote areas as well as crowded cities and aerial support for scientific expeditions are some of my experiences. It's even more exciting to be the pilot and the photographer at the same time.

Travelling, powered paragliding, and photography are the three steps which lead me to aerial photography.

In 1989, I was a little boy seated in the rear of my parents' car. We crossed the Sahara from Algeria to Togo, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the first time, I opened my eyes to the outside world. The siliceous grains, the light, the silence, and the wind left me impressed forever. The traveler seed was planted in me and only needed time to fully develop.

Powered paragliding
In 2004, hours of flight above the Amazonian canopy trees as a passenger in a Cessna inspired me. Back to France, I took a step to learn to fly, and the simplicity of powered paragliding appealed to me. It gives me wings. Truly.

As bizarre it can be, I became interested in photography once airborne. From my first flight, I remember the pattern of the lines - tracks of the machines, in the crop fields. To have a vantage aerial perspective was only the beginning. During the next years, I trained my eyes to distinguish the unexpected geometry revealed from above to make the most of my bird's point of view.


A powered paraglider or paramotor is a pocket-size plane. A paraglider and a backpack motor is all you need to take off from anywhere. I bring it with me all around the world, hunting special moments.

When I fly and high altitude rarefied oxygen floods into my veins, I feel at home. It's even more exciting to be the pilot and the photographer at the same time.

Deep in Mongolian steppe, face to face with touristic hotels on the Florida coastline, among the towering Kyrgyzstan mountains, or above the French countryside, with a paramotor, I can reach unexpected places to produce compelling images. Portability, foot-launched and short distance takeoff make paramotor an all-around aircraft for aerial photography.
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