Alumni Profiles

A Bird’s-Eye View

body of water and a woman swimming
Formation (detail), Othonoi, Greece. (Photo: Dinesh Boaz)

After graduating from Rutgers, Dinesh Boaz briefly had a career as a music producer, revealing a unique talent for visualizing the music he was helping to create. It was only a matter of time before he picked up a camera and flipped the script: finding a symphony of sound in the images he captured from doorless helicopters hovering high above his subjects, whether coastal Greece or the Arizona desert. His photography is featured in his new book, Striking Balance (Edition One Books, 2018). A psychology major who minored in philosophy, Boaz RC’97 lives in New York City with his wife, Amrita Pendharkar RC’98, and their two children. He is also the creative director of the company he cofounded with his brother, Direct Agents.

How did it come to pass that you settled on aerial photography as a means of artistic expression?

I was focusing a lot of my work at the studio by shooting artists and creating promotional concepts through photography. I came across aerial photography by chance: I had won a doors-off helicopter flight over New York City. I was mesmerized by the idea of creating art from above, and this really opened the concept for me, and I started to explore the possibility of working with this medium.

Your subject is primarily the water, in particular coastlines and boats. Why so?

The water-themed work seems to capture some of the most vivid colors and details I look to bring out. There is something magical about the way water works with our minds and how our mood is lifted looking at images of the sea. I have also shot the desert, airplanes, and salt mines in Utah and Arizona. I have had the most success commercially so far with prints of water, sand, boats, and coastal work.

What are the challenges of shooting from a moving helicopter?

Getting over my fear on that first flight aboard a helicopter with no doors! I learned a lot shooting with experienced pilots and experimenting with lenses to capture my style of work. I also learned how to keep things in focus and get the right settings to benefit the quality of the image and its sharpness in print (I studied digital printmaking at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan where I learned how to make the large format prints).

What are your favorite cameras? And what is your go-to lens?

I have two favorites. I shoot with the Sony Alpha A7R III and the Fujifilm GFX 50S. My favorite lens at the moment is the Sony FE 2.8 70-200mm zoom. It’s very fast and helps me get the sharp details and color that I want to shoot in a fast-moving environment.

How often do you travel?

I travel close to eight times a year to find new images and to expand my body of work. As the creative director of Direct Agents, a digital advertising agency that I run with my brother Josh, I also travel and work for hotels overseeing photo shoots and drone video shoots. So, I have to balance my time.

Story originally appeared in Rutgers Magazine. Learn more about Dinesh Boaz here.