If Kottke says it’s a thing, it must be a thing. As consumer camera drones become more common, this kind of shot (or the one that inspired it by Amit Gupta) will become more familiar. Or this one I made with ominous shadow and a bit of vignette for enhanced drama.
There’s a reason that you’re going to see a lot of these from drone flyers like me, and it’s this: once you get past the novelty of taking a camera high up in the air, getting a bird’s eye view of stuff is actually a little boring.
What birds see is actually a little boring. Humans are interesting. Getting close to stuff is interesting. I bet if we could strap tiny cameras to bird heads, most of what we’d want to look at would happen when they fly close to people. If we could, we’d put cameras on bird heads to take pictures of ourselves.
But try flying your drone close to people. They get freaked out (trust me). Ergo dronies. You want to shoot people, you have to shoot the people you have access to. You end up shooting yourself. It’s not vain, it’s pragmatic.
The next part of the story is the fun part: discovering new things to do with it. New ways to shoot, new shots to get, new moves and new angles. What this feels like to me is that photography was just introduced and enthusiasts are figuring out what a wide shot is and how it feels different from a closeup. Or like the Steadicam was just invented and people are figuring out that running it down a narrow hallway looks really fucking cool.
This doesn’t happen very often, that we find new ways to see ourselves.