Pro Photo Daily | What We Learned This Week: Drone Art, Drone Law, and Drone Journalism's Future

By: David Schonauer
Publish Date: July 13, 2017, 3:35 p.m.

Do you remember when you first heard about drones?

Over the past few years the promise and the fears about unmanned aerial vehicles has taken sharper focus.

This week, for instance, we noted that a man, 54-year-old Gene Alan Carpenter from Prescott Valley, AZ, was arrested for hindering aircraft after allegedly flying his unmanned drone in close proximity to firefighting planes in Arizona. Police said the drone was spotted circling one of the planes and forced officials to ground 14 aircraft fighting the raging wildfire for roughly an hour, noted Digital Trends. Police have charged Carpenter with 14 counts of felony endangerment and one misdemeanor count of unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is working on the new ways of identifying drones in order to increase pilot accountability. Back in 2015 — the drone dark ages — the FAA began demanding mandatory registration of most drones, including most consumer. Earlier this year, however, a federal court ruled that consumer drone owners do not need to register. The FAA is now proposing a remote identification of consumer drones, reported DIY Photography.

In a related story, PetaPixel  noted that the FAA is now offering refunds to those conscientious citizens who previously paid to register their consumer drones.

This week we also perused the winning images from the fourth annual Dronestagram photography contest, which was organized in partnership with National Geographic. Around 8,000 photos were submitted to the contest from around the world.

We were also intrigued by at article at Pointer that contemplated the future of drone journalism. How will close-in aerial photography impact news coverage? Just consider, noted writer Melody Kramer, the photos of New Jersey governor Chris Christie relaxing on a state beach — after he’d close the beaches to the public due to a budget impasse. While Newark Star-Ledger photojournalist Andrew Mills shot the now-notorious pictures from a small airplane, the images give us “the opportunity to think about how journalists can use photographs and videos taken from above — whether by helicopter, plane or drone — in really creative ways to break news and tell stories,” writes Kramer. The National Press Photographers Association  also contemplated aerial photography as journalism in the wake of the Christie story.

Finally, we want to add to a story we featured this week: We reported that photographer Matthias Bruggmann has been named winner of the second annual Prix Elysée  from the Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland for his project “A Haunted World Where It Never Shows,” which documents the “complexities and the lives on the line in the Syrian crisis.”  We neglected to note that Bruggmann shoots for Contact Press Images.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:

1. Golden Hour In the City, by Magnum Photographers

“After the slog of commuting and working on a New York summer day, walking outside into the light of the golden hour can be a salve in itself,” wrote José Ginarte at The New Yorker. “That fleeting period of time—shortly before the sun sets, or after it rises, when shadows grow longer and everything appears to glow—lends us an opportunity to reconsider the world around us, recast in warm color.” To mark the 70th anniversary of Magnum Photos, TNY asked a number of the agency’s photographers, including Matt Stuart (above)  to capture NYC’s golden hours.

2. Dogs At Risk and At Play

Dog (and cats) are not merely pets, but, we noted  on Monday, creatures worthy of our wonder and worry. Our semi-regular roundup of dog photography included Time magazine’s intrepid attempt to explain what goes on in the mind of canines, featuring penetrating pooch portraits by Dina Litovsky (above). A number of photographers have been looking at at-risk dogs from puppy mills and animal shelters, while one artist considered cats as "transfurmational" art.

3. How Marlene Created Hollywood Glamour

Marlene Dietrich was a great movie star, but she was also more than that, and photography was central to her legacy as an icon. That is made clear in the exhibition “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image,” on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. through April 15, 2018. Dietrich, notes CNN, fought social and sexual oppression as she carefully crafted a public persona through fashion and photos by Milton Greene, Eugene Robert Richee, and a host of others. NPR  had more about the lovely, legendary Marlene.

4.  Hong Kong, Once Glittering, Now In Trouble

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule two decades ago, the city was seen as a model of what China might one day become: prosperous, modern, international, with the broad protections of the rule of law. But the the perception of Hong Kong as a vibrant crossroads of East and West is fading fast, noted The New York Times  in a recent article featuring images by Hong Kong-based independent photographer Lam Yik Fei,  who captured a city stuck between rival modes of rule.

5. Making Horror Photography Popular on the Web

If you’ve seen a 360-degree photo of a psycho slasher on Facebook recently, you’re probably already familiar with the work of Adam Martyn Ewings. The photographer has amassed over 3 million Facebook followers with his horror imagery, noted DIY Photography, which recently talked with Ewings about how he began making images like the one featuring a “soulless priest in the church full of his cleansed victims.” And, of course, clowns. “I always try and do is make my work something that people can relate to,” noted Ewings.
At top: From Lam Yik Fei