With the United Arab Emirates currently inviting submissions for its annual Drones for Good Award — in which $1 million is given to a design that will benefit humankind — expect to see some ambitious prototypes quite literally taking off in the next few years.We spoke to Dronestagram founder and French entrepreneur, Eric Dupin, about the future of drone photography — and the enduring allure of aerial shots.
CNN: Why are people so fascinated by images of Earth from above?
Eric Dupin: “Maybe for the same reasons for which man has always dreamed of flying. Just look at people in an airplane, stuck on the window seat looking down. With satellite images, and apps like Google Earth, we are now used to seeing Earth from above. But drone photos bring a new way of seeing the world, at low altitude, near landscapes and buildings, like a bird would do.”
What makes a great drone photo?
“It’s a picture that you immediately identify as a drone photo — it is taken at a low altitude, near the target of the picture, and you must see on the picture that it is impossible it has been taken with a device other than a drone. Part of the appeal is that drones can capture images of places that are impossible to reach with another flying device.”
What’s been your most popular picture?
“The famous eagle from Indonesia, which has had 126,000 views.”
What do you think the public’s perception of drones is?
“Some people are scared about these flying machines because they don’t know them very well and they just repeat what they hear from other people or the media. But most people I know and meet are fascinated by drones — particularly if they see a demo of what we can do in terms of photography.”
Tell us a breakthrough in drone photography that excites you
“I think there’s a market for indoor drone imagery that has not really been addressed. Another big milestone for me would be when drones are able to easily stream live sessions on the internet.”