Claude MacBurnie has taken photos of a variety of subjects—from operatic productions, to scenes of Japanese life, to booths in professional trade shows. But a main focus of his recent work has been the original flying machines: hot air balloons. He has created a series of images giving us a poetic vision of balloons from LMAB, the Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons, the world’s largest event devoted to ballooning, with participants from around the world. MacBurnie says that his goal in photographing the preparation of the balloons and the balloons in flight is to highlight what he calls “the two essential elements” which give ballooning its power and life: air and fire.
The photographer’s sensitivity to light, his strong eye for colors, and his dynamic compositions allow him to bring those elements fully to life. Shooting digitally and mounting his photographs on Dibond, he creates sharp images with a strong sense of the physical that balances beautifully with the feeling of lightness and freedom that permeates each photograph. The artist sets hot air balloons apart from other methods of flight, owing to its "mute flying and having its speed limited to the caresses of the wind." This effect allows the riders to immerse themselves with their beautiful surroundings, reaching a meditative state inspired by the horizons and infinity of the sky. In his work, he shares with the viewer these intense moments of symbiosis between the balloons, the teams, and the landscapes.“I like to capture emotion and beauty,” he says, and both of those come vividly across in his pictures.