It’s an unlikely combination in a world where mainstream media is saturated with stories of how drones kill and spy on people.
But Baltimore couple Terry and Belinda Kilby have taken their unlikely combination of talents — software engineering and teaching visual arts in public school — to bring new meaning to the mainstream idea of a drone.
“Drone Art: Baltimore” is the title of the first book by the couple, which together goes by the name Elevated Element. And, it’s the first ever compilation of photos in a published book generated completely by a drone.
The book is a visual tour of Baltimore, with photos ranging from famous landmarks like the Concord Point Light to the Mr Boh sign in Brewers Hill — aerial perspectives of landmarks any tourist would see on a trip to Baltimore.
And then there are aerial perspectives that you would get no other way than from a drone or plane. An image of the Bicentennial Maze isn’t shot from a drone just for drone’s sake — it shows a perspective you would never get if you were walking through the maze yourself. The book’s cover photo of the Francis Scott Key Memorial Monument exemplifies the duo’s artistic eye with a smartly layered image that required precision flying.
Elevated Element does not simply rely solely on the novelty of the new technology; instead it relies on ingenuity and artistry to generate truly interesting images.
But perhaps my favorite part of this book is not the images, but the message the book generates. Elevated Element could have simply compiled beautiful photos in a book, but at a time when drones are controversial in the media and up for federal regulation, the couple is using their art to start a dialogue and spread a message. A quarter of their book is not images, but thoughtful commentary on mainstream drone use. They are spreading a message on safe and responsible drone use, a promise to science and technology education initiatives, and changing the connotation of the word drone to a tool that helps agriculture, search and rescue, and humanitarian efforts.
This book offers not only an unseen perspective of Baltimore, but an unseen perspective into how the world can use a controversial technology.
You can purchase and read more about the book on its official website here.
Photos by Terry and Belinda Kilby, Elevated Element.