The Drone Awards sponsored by the Art Photo Travel Association, the nonprofit group that also organizes the Sienna International Photo Awards, is among the most important worldwide competitions for aerial photography and videos taken not only by drones but also from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, balloons, blimps and dirigibles, rockets, kites, and parachutes.
Open to professional as well as amateur photographers, the competition is dedicated to a different photographic genre, deliberately separated from traditional photography, to celebrate the beauty of photos from the sky now that, according to the organizers, “more sophisticated, cheaper and accessible drones, along with satellites, have moved from warfare technology towards a constant state of Orwellian nervousness.”
It also includes aerial videos not exceeding five minutes in length and containing at least 30 seconds of footage.
In the midst of ever-advancing technology, the competition seeks to move beyond surveillance and privacy issues to emphasize the role of the “aerial artists” who uses the technology to “create images of extraordinary reach and power, deepening our understanding of the world beyond its surface appearance and the way we relate to it.”
“Once aerial photographers started deliberately seeking out, framing and creating patterns, rather than creating work that simply serves documentary purposes,” the organizers explain, ” drones have broadened the field of aerial photography to aerial art .”
Photographers have been taking cameras into the air almost as long as cameras have existed. Early practitioners, such as Nadar, who in 1858 rose 260 feet above the Paris suburbs in a balloon, and James Wallace Black, who photographed Boston from an elevation of 2,000 feet in 1860, had to apply a chemical solution to their glass plates and then develop the pictures in a mobile darkroom in the balloon basket.
More than 4,400 entries were submitted for 2018 by professional photographers and amateur drone photo enthusiasts from 101 countries.
The recently created yearly contest rewards the highest scoring image with the title of “Drone Photographer of the Year 2019,” and also selects a winner for each category that include Abstract, Nature, People, Sports, Wildlife and Urban.
The winners, which will be announced before July 15, will receive the Pangea Prize christal statuette during an Awards Ceremony held at the “Teatro dei Rozzi” theater on October 26 in the historic city of Sienna, Italy, and their images will be showcased in the collective photo exhibition Sky Is The Limit, also taking place there throughout October and November.
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