When man was at last able to ascend into the air, he marvelled at the sight of the land stretched endlessly below him. The “Birds eye view” came into being the moment perspective was a concern of western man, and Columbus sailed towards the ever distant vanishing point.
Frenchman Aurther Batut was a pioneer in this kite or (Aerial) photography. He built a kite which he modified to carry a camera and he used a home made box camera with a guillotine shutter to take pictures with. In 1851 Batut discovered that detailed acurate maps and ground plans could be made by taking two or more aerial photos and reversing the rules of perspective.
The German army experimented with rocket photography and in 1888 the magazine La Nature described the photo rocket. In 1891 a patent was issued to German Ludwig Rahnmann for a large calibre gun or rocket photographic system. A pigeon camera was also patented in Germany in 1903 this consisted of the pigeon having a harness fitted to him, this harness had a miniture camera attached to it.
Batut was inspired by Tissanders book on balloon photography although balloon photographs were rarely accepted as landscape.
Uses of aerial photographs include: - making accurate maps, finding disturbances in soil = archaeological sites, geography = untract terrain, civil engineering, city planning, forestry commission, traffic engineers and geologists, concervation work, as well as tax collection (land ownership). (Newhall: 1969)
Newhall. B. (1969). Airborne Camera. London: Focal Press Ltd.