Sports or Culture

Exhibition: “Found from above. Estonian shapes and patterns”

Andres Tarto's photo exhibition is open on the 1st and 4th floor of the Nova building

mets ülevalt

One of the greatest joys photography has for me is a feeling no doubt familiar to many practitioners of the art – the “eureka!” moment that immediately precedes the act of taking a picture. It is the moment you have found something new, or seen (through) something. As always, people are more open to revelations when they have strayed from their usual path. And seen from above, the landscape is one large, unusual path, where one can get lost like a kid in a candy store. With each serendipitous turn, you find yourself face to face with familiar places in Estonia, which are of course fun to identify from their novel angle. But often they hold in store for me even more important discoveries: different patterns and motifs or some inexplicable or explicable regularity that cannot be seen from ground level, and which were not originally intended for viewing. I am very attuned to this quality and indeed these revelations are the subject of this exhibition.

There are two kinds of patterns and shapes: those made by a Creator or higher power and those made by humankind. (Humans are an act of Creation themselves, but anyhow...) Manmade patterns can seem more striking and inspired, because the creator of the pattern did not set out to create the pattern or image for its own sake; it is merely the inevitable by-product of the work going on, say, in farmer’s fields. I have for years admired these manmade patterns from above, and I am grateful to those farmers and other workmen who are employed on our landscapes. Besides the fact that they perform needed work, they offer aesthetic enjoyment to those flying over their work. Sometimes it seems unjust that they may not even be aware that they have created art, if only because they do not happen to see it from the right angle. Thus I hope that the exhibition-goers will include some of the working folk who helped create the patterns. And I gratefully acknowledge them.

The pictures also include a selection of nature patterns and images (such as ice and bog patterns; a coast shaped like a face etc) and in some cases, the photos include a car, tractor or person to help the viewer get an idea of the scale. I hope very much that the exhibition will broaden viewers’ understanding of Estonian landscapes and its beauty, and places in and around which we live. After all, everything is different from a high vantage point.

Andres Tarto (1975): previous exhibitions “Box and post – Estonian mailboxes” (2003); “Mirrors that have seen better days” (2007); “Estonia from 1000 feet” (2008). Tarto has worked in the aerial photography medium since 2004. Visit him also at or

The exhibition received support from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.