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Drones: Revolutionising the way photographers document the world

6 years ago

"It can transform you into a photographer that can see everything." - Guardian photographer Graeme Robertson discusses the triumphs of drone photography.


Drone photography is full of stereotypes. Often thought as a gimmick reserved for the tech-savvy, in recent years drones have attracted a new audience. Drones offer a flexibility unmatched by a tripod or cumbersome equipment and, with kit becoming increasingly affordable, photographers are turning to the devices as a means to diversify their practice and express themselves in new and creative ways. A new competition run by the British Journal of Photography, and leading drone company DJI, spotlights the burgeoning creative use of drones in photography.

"A drone goes up in the air so immediately you have a completely different viewpoint on a subject," says Graeme Robertson, a photographer who has been documenting the world for British newspaper The Guardian since 2005. "It can get the camera in situations where there’s no way you could put yourself. It can transform you into a photographer that can see everything."


Graeme sits on the judging panel of the British Journal of Photography’s DJI Drone Photography Award. The award is calling for photographers to submit proposals for drone-shot photography series, with two winners each receiving £1,500 to realise their projects. Graeme will mentor each winner and the resulting photographs will be exhibited at a major London gallery.

Graeme started using drones three years ago as a means to bring new perspective to his work. As staff photographer, the photographs he takes for The Guardian are wildly diverse: one minute he’s documenting wars, conflicts and humanitarian crises across the world, the next he’s flying a drone over a salmon farm in the Scottish lowlands.


"I don’t want to be that drone guy who is all about how fast and how high a drone can fly," he says. "It’s about how a drone can make a project better. If I am using a drone just for the sake of using a drone, then I don’t use it."

Much like how Graeme approaches drone photography, the DJI Drone Photography Award is seeking submissions where the use of a drone elevates the creative possibilities of a project. Here, the drone will be far from a gimmick reserved for the tech enthusiast, but rather a tool that, in reaching locations impossible on foot, opens the viewer’s eyes to new possibilities.

Enter the British Journal of Photography’s DJI Drone Photography Award today! Prizes include a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, £1,500 project financing and an exhibition at a major London gallery.