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Aerial Alphabets Spell Out Local Photographer's Passion

What happens when a local artist combines her passions for photography and aviation? We don’t have to spell the answer out for you. Instead, Yvonne R. Sanderson’s photographs do just that in a very literal way.

"Aerial Alphabets" by Yvonne R. SandersonSanderson will exhibit images of letter shapes from “A” to “Z” as seen from an aerial perspective in Notre Dame College’s Clara Fritzsche Library. “Aerial Alphabets” will open with a reception on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sanderson and her husband Mark first noticed the letter shapes by accident, then by intention while flying commercial aerial photography assignments from their home base at Cuyahoga County Airport. Over a period of two and half years, it became their obsession to complete the entire English alphabet from “A” to “Z.”  The letter “G” was the final and most challenging one to find, and is the only image that received computer attention — it was flipped horizontally. 

Sanderson used various digital cameras as technology evolved over the duration of the project, from a 6-megapixel FugiS1 to her current 21-megapixel Canon 1Ds Mark III. Her husband sat at the controls of their Cessna 172, which is equipped with a 180-horsepower engine.

Sanderson studied at the International Center of Photography in New York City and the Wooster Art Center in Danbury, Conn. She received a Master Photographer Award at the Professional Aerial Photographers Association’s annual convention in Tampa, Fla., and also won the PAPA International Judge’s Choice Award for her commissioned aerial image of Progressive Field on opening day 2008. Two of her black and white aerial images of Cleveland are in the Progressive Corporation’s art collection and three aerials are featured in the 1995 official Cleveland Bicentennial book “Images from the Heart.”

Sanderson is the owner and founder of Focal Plane Photography, a South Euclid business she and her husband run from home. The company specializes in aerial work for construction progress and real estate development clients, as well as stock library images and keepsake gifts.

“Aerial Alphabets” is free and open to the public and will run from Feb. 11 to March 31. The exhibit may be viewed during library hours: Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For more information contact Karen Zoller, director of the Clara Fritzsche Library, at 216.373.5267 or check the library website