Latest Art Trend Is Drone Photography

The future of photography is now, and that future is full of drones.

10
View Slideshow
A vacation drone selfie. Photo: dronesetc, via Instagram.
0/0
A vacation drone selfie. Photo: dronesetc, via Instagram.
A vacation drone selfie. Photo: dronesetc, via Instagram.
Rus Turner, drone photograph of clouds above the River Test at Nursling, Hampshire, UK. Photo: Rus Turner.
Rus Turner, drone photograph of clouds above the River Test at Nursling, Hampshire, UK. Photo: Rus Turner.
TravelByDrone, drone footage of a zebra stampede in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. Photo: TravelByDrone.
TravelByDrone, drone footage of a zebra stampede in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. Photo: TravelByDrone.
Terry and Belinda Kilby, Concord Point in Havre de Grace, photographed by a drone. Photo: Terry and Belinda Kilby, courtesy Elevated Element.
Terry and Belinda Kilby, Concord Point in Havre de Grace, photographed by a drone. Photo: Terry and Belinda Kilby, courtesy Elevated Element.
Parker Gyokeres, drone photograph of the June 2014 wedding of New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and Randy Florke. Photo: Parker Gyokeres/Propellerheads Aerial Photography.
Parker Gyokeres, drone photograph of the June 2014 wedding of New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and Randy Florke. Photo: Parker Gyokeres/Propellerheads Aerial Photography.
Dale Stierman, drone photo at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on the Mississippi river. Photo: Dale Stierman, courtesy Picture Perfect Portrait and Design.
Dale Stierman, drone photo at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on the Mississippi river. Photo: Dale Stierman, courtesy Picture Perfect Portrait and Design.
Tomas van Houtyve, a bike in a skate park in Sacramento County, California, part of the "Blue Sky Days" series. Photo: Tomas van Houtyve.
Tomas van Houtyve, a bike in a skate park in Sacramento County, California, part of the "Blue Sky Days" series. Photo: Tomas van Houtyve.
IOCOSE, from the "Drone Selfies" series, part of the larger "In Times of Peace" series. Photo: IOCOSE.
IOCOSE, from the "Drone Selfies" series, part of the larger "In Times of Peace" series. Photo: IOCOSE.
Andy Snow, video still from DJI Vision 3+ Phantom at the Riverscape fountain, drone video of the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: Andy Snow.
Andy Snow, video still from DJI Vision 3+ Phantom at the Riverscape fountain, drone video of the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: Andy Snow.
Sithikorn Wongwudthianun, drone photography of crowds gathered in Bangkok during a 2013 political protest. Photo: Sithikorn Wongwudthianun, courtesy the Bangkok Post.
Sithikorn Wongwudthianun, drone photography of crowds gathered in Bangkok during a 2013 political protest. Photo: Sithikorn Wongwudthianun, courtesy the Bangkok Post.

Let it be known: the future of photography is now, and that future is full of drones. artnet News has noticed an increasing number of drone-based art photography projects popping up in recent months, and the trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

We first fell in love with Rus Turner’s vibrantly colored GoPro drone photos of the English countryside. Published in the Guardian, the drone’s elevated viewpoint and wide lens angle somehow lent an added beauty to the bucolic scenery. On the other end of the spectrum, Tomas van Houtyve captured the ominous, threatening aspect of drone surveillance with chilling black-and-white images of public places across the US that warn for the potential abuse of the technology (see Guardian article and Telegraph slideshow).

In our search for more, we found Andy Snow, who has captured stunning video footage of the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights in Dayton, Ohio, and photographer couple Terry and Belinda Kilby, who recently published Drone Art: Baltimore, a compilation of aerial drone pictures of their native city. And we can’t look away from TravelByDrone, which crowdsources drone videos from around the world to mesmerizing effect, taking Google Street View (perhaps inevitably) to the next level (see Huffington Post report).

Even if you discount artists whose work is inspired by drones, rather than created with them, like Trevor Paglen, who has attracted considerable attention for his photos of drones ominously hovering in an otherwise tranquil sky, or James Bridle, who lets Google Earth satellite images stand in for drone photographs in his “Dronestagram” project, the growing prominence of drones in the art world can’t be denied.

And it isn’t just artists who are embracing drone photography. Journalists are also getting into the game, as with the powerful drone images of the 2013 political protests in Bangkok captured by Sithikorn Wongwudthianun for the Bangkok Post (see PBS report).

Controversially, wedding photographers are adopting the technology as well, reports the New York Times. While Iowa photographer Dale Stierman was praised by the Huffington Post for his drone wedding photos taken along the Mississippi River, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was criticized for enlisting a drone at his June wedding to Randy Florke in a possible violation of Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.

Drone photography is also piggybacking onto other trends, with cheeky photographers from Italian art group IOCOSE positioning them in front of mirrors to capture high-tech selfies as part of their ongoing drone-themed series, “In Times of Peace.” As reported by the Creators Project, the photos attempt to answer the question “what would they [drones] do if they were not involved in war scenarios, or used by human beings to deliver parcels, take photos of unreachable areas and so on?” by depicting the machines partaking in boring, everyday activities.

Meanwhile, the rich, jet-setting crowd—when they aren’t using drones to survey their far-flung estates a-la Martha Stewart—have co-opted drone photography to take their vacation selfies to the next level, capturing their adventures in scenic locales from an elevated vantage point (see Huffington Post article). Expect to start seeing these types of shots among the Rich Kids of Instagram crew.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics