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Ben Depp

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Ben Depp is a photographer based in New Orleans, Louisiana, whose work documents the disappearing coastal wetlands – which are vanishing at the rate of a football field every half hour. His aerial photographs are captured by powered paraglider, which he navigates into some of the region's most remote landscapes. The images Depp makes are records of the impacts that humanity delivers on the natural world; the downstream effects on a fragile ecosystem that many have never laid eyes upon, or have not been attentive enough to see.

THIS LAND is funded in part by a grant from South Arts with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Chef Menteur Highway, 2020

"With a powered paraglider, I can fly between ten and five thousand feet above the ground. I spend hours in the air, camera in hand, waiting for the brief moments when the first rays of sunlight mix with cool pre-dawn light and illuminate forms in the grass, or when evening light sculpts fragments of marsh and the geometric patterns of human enterprise - canals, oil platforms, pipelines and roads.

In my photographs, one can make out varieties of plants, see the weather and seasonal changes – from the shifting high-water line, color temperature and softness of light, to what is in bloom – distinguish living cypress trees from those that have been killed by saltwater intrusion, or see the patterns made by wave energy on barrier island beaches.

This intimate view of Louisiana from a birds-eye perspective prompts me – and I hope, others – to see and understand its landscape in new ways and to reexamine my relationship to the environment that surrounds me."

– Ben Depp

This short film charts recent developments in Depp's artistic process, which include the construction and launch of a small sailboat, in his ongoing quest to cultivate intimate perspectives of and relationship with the region's changing landscapes.


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