Paul Prescott: World Traveller and Photographer. At least that’s how the Croatian describes himself on his own homepage. If you click your way through it, you quickly stumble across interesting art: Aerial Photography. Paul has a soft spot for views from above and shoots magical motifs, mostly in the summer, along the Adriatic coast of the Balkans—a bird’s eye view thanks to technology, in particular, the drone.
Drones on a leash: The historical birth of aerial photography
Since drones have become available and affordable to individuals, new opportunities have opened up for photographers and videographers who have revolutionized the perspectives of their portfolios and collections. What once had to be produced at great expense, with cranes or helicopters, for example, can now be easily done with a remote control or even with a smartphone.
In order to appreciate aerial photography and thus drone technology, we look at it from a distance: from above. Unfortunate, but an unavoidable reality: Many of the inventions from which we benefit today date back to wartime. Around 1848, one of the first unmanned flight attempts occurred when the Austrian army had sieged Venice in vain and decided to wait for favorable winds so that they could send balloons loaded with explosives into the famous island city. Long story short: The battle was won, but the technology was quickly outmoded. Hint: Rotating winds are not always good.
“The previously impossible in photography is our specialty.”
After the Frenchman Arthur Batut, pioneer of aerial photography, photographed his hometown Labruguière from above in 1889 with the help of a kite made from rope, paper, and wood, American George R. Lawrence took to the skies to take photographs no one had ever seen before. After a few attempts with the balloon, and a few near-death experiences, he took up Batut’s idea and built a contraption out of 17 kites, which carried a 22-kilogram panorama camera to a height of 600 meters.
Aerial photography had reached the big stage. Then, naturally, President Theodore Roosevelt was quite electrified by its possibilities, of course for military purposes. The drone was born. Sometimes humans just can’t help themselves.
Higher, faster, and more stable
For a very long time, nothing happened in the exciting field of aerial photography, at least not with the drone. The tech has evolved rapidly but has only been used in countless military missions. The moral and ethical club has been and still is swinging whenever drones come into focus, and rightly so where the military is concerned.
Only the combination of a whole series of innovations, including satellite navigation, led to the breakthrough and turned the drone into a tool for everyone. In the 2000s, the first flight permits for private drones were issued as the commercial possibilities were recognized. Since then, there have been many manufacturers on the market who are pushing drone’s development at top speed, as they do in every tech sector. Drones are becoming lighter, smaller, more agile, more stable, and, above all, more affordable. Of course, users have to grapple with a lot of permissions and permits, but the history of unmanned aerial vehicles in combination with the possibilities is completely understandable. After all, nobody likes it when a small plastic quadrocopter hums 50 meters above their head like 1,000 wasps, making you feel watched.
A bird rarely comes alone. That’s how the drones do it, they flock
Let’s get back to Paul Prescott, an advocate of the drone and its greatest advantage: beautiful aerial photographs. Because the drone’s views from dizzying heights, which open up completely new perspectives and suddenly snatch all the familiar greats from their context, are so dear to his heart, he founded the Amazing Aerial Agency. This is a collective, or rather a collection, from all over the world, dealing purely with the bird’s eye view. He has gathered renowned photographers around him who share his passion for taking pictures from impressive heights. The surreal concrete jungle in Dubai, Mediterranean dream landscapes of Greece, and landscape photography that forms abstract paintings from a bird’s eye view adorn the agency’s portfolio.
This is reason enough for us to include these pictures in the Westend61 family. We are very happy with new perspectives in our online shop and recommend everyone take a look from top to bottom.