The Troubling Contradictions of Dronestagrams


There are, of course, precedents for documenting the world from above. The first aerial photograph was taken in 1858 by a French photographer and polymath named Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, who went by the pseudonym Nadar. Floating in a hot-air balloon over Petit-Bicêtre, a village near Paris, he captured a bucolic scene from the sky and brought it down to earth in the form of a permanent print. “One can distinguish perfectly on the road a tapestry maker whose cart stopped before the balloon,” he recalled in his memoir, “and on the tiles of the roofs the two white doves that had just landed there.”

The past decade has seen a comparable revolution in aerial imaging. Whereas the vast flyover shots of the past required expensive air travel, drones are both readily available and completely interactive. Drones can also fly lower and maneuver more tightly than any airplane

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