PHOTO BOX VOL. 5

edited by Dawn Kim

ISSUE TEN | SPRING 2018

First Flight is a collection of stills found and edited from amateur drone footage found online. The title comes from the initial YouTube search term I used to find inaugural flights of new drones.

—Dawn Kim

Like the previous edition, volume five of Photo Box—Nat. Brut’s recurring feature of found images—focuses on a group of still images selected from found videos. This edition of Photo Box draws from Dawn Kim’s project, “First Flight.” An artist and curator, Kim has cultivated bodies of work examining found images in our contemporary Internet-connected society, with a particular interest in those that have been generated in accidental ways or for functional purposes. For Photo Box, Kim’s images were made possible by the proliferation of amateur drone ownership.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that “hobbyist” drone ownership will increase from 1 million vehicles in 2016 to more than 3.5 million by 2021 in the US alone. They are so popular and potentially destructive that the National Park System has banned them from most national parks. Signs forbidding drones are de rigueur at outdoor sporting stadiums and any trailhead that lead to a “view.” Aerial footage from drones has become a recognizable and desired part of commercial productions from sports and news broadcasts to documentary films and wedding videos. Despite our increasing familiarity with drone presence, many of the people whose images are captured in this collection seem to be reacting to the camera with suspicion or even aggression. What a relief to discover that we haven’t entirely forgotten the drone’s military and surveillance origins.

There is potent meaning in inaugural flights. I am writing this introduction from North Carolina, a state that commemorates the Wright brothers’ “first in flight” milestone on its automobile license plates. Looking through Kim’s images, I found myself straining to find evidence of this first flight status: to see if I could tell, from an image separated from almost all context except this one bit of information, whether the pilot’s inexperience with the drone in question produced evidence of a mechanized gaze.


These images are stripped of identifying markers, withholding from viewers information about the date, location, camera specs, and identity of the pilot of the drones’ first flights. But the pull of human intervention remains strong: an image that does not differentiate between eyesight lines and cuts off subjects’ heads and feet indiscriminately as it ascends to the height desired by its pilot is still an image that has been isolated for us by Kim’s very human hand.

Parts of this selection previously appeared in First Flight, published by Outlaw Books.

—Abby Sun, Senior Editor, Nat. Brut

An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a green field with horses and trees.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a trampoline with a barking dog on it.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a man i a blue jacket at the dge of a pond with ducks swimming away from him.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a barbecue grill with a fence behin it. On the other side of the fence, a young woan in a purple tank top is walking away a trampoline.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a dog in a head cone with a woman on her phone in the background.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a young shirtless man standing in a yard pointing an air gun at the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing an adult man in a blue shirt smoking a cigarette in his apartment and holding a remote control.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing two white dogs tied up in a backyard
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing the side of a house with a window. A young child is looking through window.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a man in a grey shirt and jeans running away from the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing three peole wearing red shirts swimming in alarge green lake.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing two men from the shoulders down standing up. Thre is a girl sittng on a lawn chair in thebackground, looking at the camera while srinking soda.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing an older woman in a pink shirt spraying her lawn while lookig at the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing an adult man from the shoulders down, a young man ith his arms crossed, and a child, all staring into the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing lots of horses laying on their sides in a green field.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a young amn i a white shirt sitting inside at his desk holding a remote control.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a large family posing for the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a person on their porch warming their hands at a heat lamp.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a woman in a purple sweater on her back porch pointing a gun at the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a two story house on fire.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing two cowboys on a horse sandwiching a bull.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a group of people on a red rug by rocksand rubble sitting next to the road.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing two women holding flowers on a boat in a lily pond.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a young woman in a pink shirt on her back patio staring up at the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a group of young boys. The one in the front is wearing a baseball hat and is running toward the camera.
An aerial view, shot from a drone, picturing a woman eating behind a glass door. She is looking at the camera.

Dawn Kim is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She has never flown a drone.

Abby Sun, who originally hails from Columbia, MO, is a photographer, filmmaker, sound recordist, and lover of road trips. She is the Senior Editor and Photography Editor for Nat. Brut and a programmer for True/False Film Fest.

Nat. Brut: The Responsible Future of Art and Literature
 

Nat. Brut  (pr. nat broot) is a journal of art and literature dedicated

to advancing inclusivity in all creative fields.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Tumblr Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • m-01

Site by Design Altar

© 2019 Nat. Brut Inc., All Rights Reserved.