Farm Aerials

My Anger grandparents and aunts and uncles had large aerial photographs of their properties hanging in their living rooms. Always pride of place. I loved them.

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We didn’t have one, I guess because we lived in town. Not quite the same as a farm or houses that are apart from others. Where it’s easy to point and say ‘there, that’s mine.’

I’d asked my parents where they came from. “Guys fly overhead and take pictures, then come around and ask if you want to buy one. Happens every year.” I wanted one of those pictures. But nobody ever came to my door and asked if I wanted an aerial photograph. It seemed like a lottery, I thought, whether your house got picked or not. I forgot about it eventually.

National Aerial View

One summer day in 2014, the dogs and I were out in the field behind our house. A car pulled in the driveway. We came to see who it was. A man with a clipboard walked to meet us.

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Gus Zebian from National Aerial View, he said. He showed me 4 x 6 photos of our farm. Aerial photos. Problem was, I’d become so accustomed to saying ‘not interested’ to salespeople that I said that to him. Dogs and I turned away and Gus walked back toward his car.

Halfway across the field, I realized what I was doing – passing up the chance of a lifetime. I’d just won the lottery! And I had said no thanks, not interested! Dogs and I started running back, yelling out to him. He got out of his car. And the deal was done.

Meet me at Tim Hortons

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A couple weeks later, Gus called. My photo was ready. I wanted to surprise my husband with it so I didn’t want Gus to come here. We arranged to meet at the Tim Hortons in Hampton. Gus was outside waiting for me, so we did the deal there. I’ve wondered if people inside were curious about what was going on, after dark, passing money and a picture to each other.

I asked Gus where he was from. London, Ontario he said. He and his brother went across the country every year. His brother flew the plane and he was the salesman. The Zebians had been doing this for decades. So I told him about the aerial farm photographs in my family. Maybe we took them, he said.

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There are other ways of seeing your property from the air now. Drones and Google Earth. Print them off, frame them and there you go – aerial photo of your farm, house or whatever. But, for me, a photograph of your place taken from a plane by people who might have also taken the photographs you remember hanging in your grandparents’ living room – that’s priceless. Connecting land and generations in a way I can’t see satellite or drone photography ever doing.

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The top photograph is of my aunt and uncle Erie and Solon Laur’s farm near Mossley, Ontario. In the middle is the photo of our farm in New Brunswick. The bottom picture is of Borden Ave in Belmont, Ontario. My uncle and aunt Jack and Vivian Anger’s house is centre and my grandparents Austin and Murel Anger’s house is at the left.

  • Also see my Anger Photos for pics of those mentioned here and others.
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