Part One: Kites
Chris Benton is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. He also straps his digital SLR onto a kite string and takes some of the most amazing aerial photographs I have ever seen. Chris combines a truly gifted eye for composition with a an engineer’s savvy for mechanical problem solving.
Using kites and remote-controlled camera rigs built by hand in his basement, Chris captures the world top-down, photographing everything from people and buildings to the patterns of nature. Watch this video from Make Magazine and be stunned!
Chris is quick to humbly share his experience and tips for aerial kite photography on his website.html (graciously hosted by Berkeley!)
I was blown away by the evolution of Chris’s camera rigs, which grew from fixed harnesses with rudimentary mechanical timers based on elastic bands, Silly Putty, and disposable cameras, to what he now uses, a remote-controlled, servo motor-driven, three-axis robot.
It’s definitely not commonplace for someone to possess both a grasp of electronic and mechanical engineering and a hawk-eye for artistic composition. Chris Benton has both.
Part Two: Cars
Aside from being an avid photographer, I admit to a streak of BMW fanboyism. When it comes to sports cars that are still solid daily drivers that make you feel like you’ve personally discovered the center of the universe and you’re sitting directly within it, nobody does it better than BMW.
To hype the release of their latest creation, the Z4 Roadster, BMW hired artist Robin Rhode to dip the Z4’s tires in multi-colored paints and drive it around like a fingerpainting on a warehouse scale. This was one of the most indulgent marketing campaigns I could think of.
I realize this isn’t strictly photography-related, but it is certainly art-related. If you feel gypped, go look at these photographs from the event
And here is a pretty cool video of how they put this thing together:
The next time you’re out shooting, or sitting around the house thinking about how next to use that studio space you set up in the basement, or the garage, or the attic… Think about breaking out of the box and doing something completely different. Robin Rhode did, and I think it came out pretty well.