Just 3-4 years ago aerial photography was available to a handful of photographers. When Ilya Varlamov‘s team got a mini copter able to lift a DSLR, they were giddy with excitement. The guys tried to get it to climb higher and higher for longer and longer shots until it went the Icarus way and they were $20,000 poorer. This didn’t stop them, and they bought another, even more powerful heli.
Not everybody knows that Air Pano had been taking pictures from the air for years then, but they weren’t the first in large-scale aerial image-taking. By large-scale I mean industrial production of devices to churn out hundreds and thousands of pictures. Air Pano specializes in 3D panoramas of famous landmarks and unusual corners of the planet – erupting volcanoes and such.
Nowadays, with quadro/octocopters widely available, thousands of photographers have taken off. Every other blogger uploads still pictures and videos of places he’s going through, seen from the air. All that is very curious, but, unfortunately, has nothing to do with creative photography. Of course, it’s different hawks for different folks – I have no objections to plain useful, informative pictures. But my own interests lie in expressive, not informative photography.
Can aerial photography be expressive – meaningful, sensual, personal? Or is it always about tourist-driven drone races? To answer I suggest going back 20 years and looking at some works by the wizard aerial photography, the great Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Here is a selection from his project Earth From The Air (1995). Notice what relatively short shots – close to the ground, not far from it – he preferred and at what time of the day he flew. Many newcomers to aerial photography fail to understand that driving the drone as high above the ground as possible takes them away from actual creative work and makes pictures look like Google Maps, shot from space and glued together by robots.
Let me share with you a set of photos by Sergey Maximishin, one of the famous russian photographer. Here are pictures of different years, from different countries, and a series of journalistic photo stories.
Sergey Maximishin was born in 1964. Spent childhood in Kerch, the Crimea. Moved to Leningrad in 1982. Served in the Soviet army as a photographer the Soviet Military Force Group on Cuba from 1985 to 1987. Graduated from Leningrad Politechnical Inctitute in 1991 with a B.A. in physics. Worked in the laboratory of scientific and technical expertise in the Hermitage Museum. Graduated from St-Petersburg Faculty of photojournalism in 1998. In 1999-2003 was a staff photographer for the “Izvestia” newspaper. Since 2003 works with a German agency “Focus”.
The Times, Time, Newsweek, Parool, Liberation, Washington Post, The Wall Street Jornal, Stern, Business Week, Focus, Der Profile, Corriere della Sera, Izvestia, Ogonyok, Itogi and other.
World Press Photo (2004, 2006), Russia Press Photo contest (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004), UNEP International Photographic Competition on the Environmental (2005) and others.
Let me share with you a set of photos by Gueorgui Pinkhassov, © Magnum Photos.
Let me share with you a set of photos by Anzor Bukharsky – a not well-known but nevertheless a very good photographer from Uzbekistan.
Let me show you a set of works by a wonderful American photographer David Alan Harvey. If you’re in love with beautiful color and work on revealing it in you own photographs, you should by all means see this set! Getting as many visual experiences as possible is the great staple for any present-day photographer. No need to mention that David’s photography presents much more artistic value than just plain color solutions.
My Russian blog started to be visited by many English speaking readers after I posted the following post. I thought it would be great to give this post a special place in my new English blog, and let it be one of the first publications.
I regularly visit the www.shorpy.com in order to get inspired by the colors of Kodachrome photo film. This website is quite famous and contains a lot of archived photographs, I am sure many of you already know it. My wish was to make a personal selection of photographs I particularly like, in good quality. I hope that you will appreciate them as well. All the pictures have been taken during 1940-1943. Now just look at them and get inspired.
1. “Where’s Adolf?”
May 1942. Langley Field, Virginia. YB-17 bombardment squadron. “Hitler would like this man to go home and forget about the war. A good American non-com at the side machine gun of a huge YB-17 bomber is a man who knows his business and works hard at it.” 4×5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.
Some time ago in my Russian-version blog I posted a link to a set of works made by that remarkable photographer. Browsing his web-site later I decided to make my own collection of his photos. I grabbed 130 shots and here I will share 41 of my favourites with you. My set differs from that of my friend Andrey Zeigarnik. I like Andrey’s choice too (moreover, my interest in Webb started there), but when you research something by yourself that gives you comprehensive view on creative works of great ones. Thus if you like these photos, I advise you to browse Alex Webb’s web-site and mix your own collection.