Aerial photography appeared in 1858 this is a rare case when the time of the genre’s birth is known with such precision. The pioneer was the famous French photographer Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known under the pseudonym Nadar. He shot Paris from a hot air balloon and patented the idea. The images have not survived, and now the earliest photograph in the history of aerial photography is considered to be the view of Boston, which James Wallace Black obtained in a similar way two years later.
Aerial photography has developed slowly due to technical difficulties. Not everyone had access to aircraft, and they tried to get around this limitation in original ways. At the end of the 19th century, aerial photography from a kite was carried out, and at the beginning of the 20th century, carrier pigeons were used. A well-known representative of the genre working during this period is George Lawrence. He filmed kites and took photographs of the devastation caused by the San Francisco earthquake. Ernst Wandersleb, who flew in a hot air balloon, was working in Germany around the same time.
Shooting the ground from a great height was in demand during the First and Second World Wars. Aerial reconnaissance gave a great advantage it helped to get accurate maps and track enemy movements. In the 1980s, the first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with cameras appeared. They were also created for military purposes, but by the beginning of the 21st century they had become widely available. When this happened, the popularity of aerial photography exploded. Now almost everyone can take pictures from a bird’s eye view.
Features of aerial photography
This genre has wide practical applications. Aerial photography is used in cartography, archaeologists use it to discover ancient cities, and real estate agencies make beautiful advertisements for houses. But such images are of great interest from an artistic point of view. They allow you to capture nature in a way that cannot be seen from the ground. When shooting, it is important to take into account some features of aerial photography:
- Pictures taken from a height can be planned or perspective depending on the vertical or tilted position of the lens.
- The drone can hover over the object at any point and provide the perfect composition. This is a great advantage over airplanes and helicopters.
- Shooting the sky and the horizon is not an aerial photo, even if taken from a height. Such frames differ little from those received from the ground.
- If you shoot a series of overlapping images, you can assemble them into a panoramic photograph.
The great height turns the terrestrial landscape into a kind of abstract painting. In both cases, familiar objects are difficult to recognize, they have no volume, and the image can be viewed sideways or upside down. Great interest in this direction was shown by the artist Kazimir Malevich and the Italian futurists.
The most famous authors of aerial photography
This genre has become popular all over the world in the last 10-15 years, so most of its representatives are our contemporaries. They film wild corners of nature, beaches, architectural landmarks and traces of human influence on the environment. Among the most famous authors of aerial photography are the following:
- Yann Arthus-Bertrand. A recognized master of aerial photography, he became interested in her back in 1995 and published a number of books as part of the large-scale project “World from above”.
- Bernhard Admier. The German geologist made aerial photography his hobby relatively recently. He travels a lot and takes pictures of unusual natural objects, which sometimes look like alien landscapes.
- Alex McLean. A pilot and photographer from the United States captures both virgin nature and landscapes transformed by human activities. His pictures are distinguished by rich colors or unusual natural patterns.
- Emily Kaszton. A female photographer from the United States has become a finalist of several prestigious international competitions. Most of all she loves to shoot seascapes from a height.
- Dimitar Karanikolov. The renowned British travel photographer takes pictures from the drone of the sights of European capitals and exotic Asian countries.
Aerial photography is a new direction in art, so it is interesting to develop in it. Everyone has the opportunity to get images that no one else has done before. There are unique and interesting places suitable for shooting from a height not only in distant countries, but also in Russia.