In art, artistic vision can sometimes be influenced by technology. For example, until the latter part of the nineteenth century, artists didn’t accurately depict how a horse galloped. Then, in the 1870s, Eadweard Muybridge revealed how horses actually galloped in his groundbreaking sequential photos—a new type of photo technology at the time. In those images, he was able to accurately capture the horse’s stride in motion, and proved, for example, that horses do have all four hooves off the ground during their running stride, which was contrary to the prevailing point of view.
More recently, photojournalist and film director Vincent Laforet has made the most of camera technology to create images in a way that had not been possible, even just a few years ago. In his most recent body of photographic work, Laforet has focused on shooting aerial photographs of various cities around the world—New York, Las Vegas, Berlin, London, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Sydney, to name a few—from a helicopter. But the real difference in these shots is that he captures them at night.
Why is this unusual? Most digital cameras can capture low-light images, but since he’s up in a helicopter that’s not only moving but also vibrating, it is very difficult to capture sharp photos. However, image sensors, image stabilizers and camera processors in SLR cameras have continued to improve. This allows Laforet to realize his vision: to capture sharp night aerial photos from above. The resulting work displays the amazing “light show” the cities of the world put on every night.
The response to Laforet’s work has been tremendous. More than 40 million people online have seen and shared his mesmerizing, high-altitude, nocturnal, aerial photos of cities around the world. He’s also recently collected and published this work in a photography book entitled Air. To see more of Laforet’s work, go to vincentlaforet.com. For more on this particular project, check out: laforetair.com.
Find out more ideas on cool digital-camera features in my State of the Art column, in the April/May 2016 issue of Professional Artist magazine, available on newsstands and online.
Terry Sullivan is the former editor of Professional Artist magazine and the former technical editor at American Artist magazine. He currently is an editor at Consumer Reports, where he covers digital cameras, camcorders, smart phones, printers and digital imaging. He is also an artist and musician. Follow him on Twitter: @TerryCR.