DJI explains new book of drone-captured images

By Luke Geiver | October 27, 2016

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, DJI choose to compile and showcase some of its greatest assets amassed during the past decade: images captured via drone. UAS Magazine spoke with Adam Najberg, DII’s global director of communications about its new book, Above The World, and why it was the right platform to highlight the success the global drone maker has had and believes it will have in the future. 

To start, can you talk about when and why the idea for this book first started? 

It started around 18 months ago, when we realized that with our high-quality, integrated cameras and very global reach, we had a chance to do a showcase that no one has attempted before--and right in time for the company’s 10th anniversary. We played around with ideas, like dedicated websites, print magazines, short films, but soon realized that the images we could get were good enough for a book. That’s when we reached out to teNeues to discuss collaborating on the book to make it a genuine work of art, not a piece of vanity publishing. 

What are the main objectives of putting this together? 

Primarily, we wanted to inspire people. We wanted to create something that shows people the beauty of our world and how it can be seen and captured by anyone with a camera in the sky. But on another level we wanted to showcase the quality of our cameras, our international reach, and the art that our products produce. I feel confident in saying that we are the only drone company capable of doing a book like this, covering as many photographers and places around the world. 

How was your team able to achieve those objectives you talked about in question 2? 

This was the result of a lot of scouring of Skypixel, news stories about drone photographers,and outreach to our own network of professional users, people like Michael Poliza, Elia Locardi and George Steinmetz, to gather a set of what, to us, were the best images around, covering the themes that we created. We were looking for a range of shots, compositions, subjects, urban spaces and rural ones, wildlife, and human life. This variety was essential to both keep the book interesting to the reader, but also to show that there are all kinds of scenes that maybe wouldn’t have been considered for drone photos before but are transformed when a drone is used. 

Can you explain a few of the most important or memorable images in the book and why you think they are so important or memorable? 

One image that particularly stands out is a photo of the Vatican by Elia Locardi. This was captured at a time when UAV rules were more flexible around the Vatican, and Elia was able to capture a truly iconic image that now would no longer be possible. On a more human scale, the photo of a fisherman captured in Queensland, Australia by Jessica Culley stands out. It exudes an air of serenity and was captured from an angle that simply would not have been possible without a flying camera. 

How did the process work to obtain the images or work with the photographers? 

This aspect was relatively simple. Once we found images we wanted to use we reached out to the photographers, either through Skypixel, through their public webpages, or even through their social media accounts. Then it simply became a matter of discussing the use of their images and agreeing on license terms.

Why did you decide to name the book Above the World? 

When you’re capturing images from a drone, you are looking down at it – so in a sense the drone is above the world. 

How many people or groups were involved in producing this book? 

Within DJI, book-writing, image-sourcing, license discussions and coordination with teNeues was primarily handled by one person. There was also a team of translators to handle the international language versions. 

Can you share any stories provided from the photographers from their time in the field? 

There are some great stories within the book already for this. We don’t really have any additional stories since we put the best ones in-between the covers. 

Last one, for a story on this, what does your team believe needs to be in the piece or is important to the telling of this? 

I would emphasize the fact that this is the first global drone photography book, that it was published in partnership with world renowned art book publisher—teNeues—and that DJI is unique in its scale and reach which makes us the only company that could have created a book like this.


For more on Above The World, click here.