Book review: art photography reaches new heights in visual tour of Baltimore

DroneArtBaltimore_smallDrones and art.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 5.28.21 PMThe 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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 5.27.56 PMBut 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.

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5 STUNNING IMAGES CAPTURED BY OTHER DRONES

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