“The hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty,” was the motto of early 20th-century photographer George R. Lawrence’s Chicago studio. Among Lawrence’s great experiments, such as the largest camera in the world built to capture the full length of a new train, was the use of kites for aerial photography.
A sort of pre-drone, Lawrence strung together up to 17 Conyne kites to lift a 49 pound camera 2,000 feet into the sky. Using piano wire and a battery’s current, he triggered the shutter from the ground, then allowed the contraption to descend via parachute. Most famously he launched his “Captive Airship,” as he called it, above San Francisco three weeks following the disastrous 1906 earthquake. It was such an incredibly detailed view of the flattened city that some of his contemporaries thought it was a faked composite.
That photograph, along with images of his train of kites and the camera itself, is featured in Decolonized Skies opening this week at Manhattan’s Apexart. Organized by High&Low Bureau, the exhibition won the nonprofit’s Unsolicited Proposal Program, and is focusing on a “civil-oriented visual” of aerial perspectives through both contemporary and historic practitioners.
We’re now a long way from Lawrence’s kites in terms of viewing our world from above (although kite aerial photography is still practiced by a small group), but the access to those views continues to expand with new technology. Below is the famous San Francisco earthquake shot, as well as more of Lawrence’s aerial views from the Library of Congress.
Decolonized Skies is at Apexart (291 Church Street, Tribeca, Manhattan) September 11 to October 25.
Artist Minouk Lim wants to offer a very different perspective on how one might deal with a grim history whose effects continue to be felt in the present.
This week: Should Washington have a national memorial for gun violence? Have cats used us to take over the world? What is Cluttercore? And more.
Organizers, artists, and land practitioners are holding public events at Iglesias Garden in a hub space supported by the Climate Justice Initiative, a project of Mural Arts Philadelphia.
The artist’s style blends aesthetic and cultural elements from Ghana, London, and New York’s graffiti scenes.
Workers told Hyperallergic that they were tired of meager pay and a lack of job security.
Jo Sandman / TRACES opens with a reception for the artist on June 3 at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Authorities say Jean-Luc Martinez helped facilitate the Louvre’s purchase of objects illegally pillaged during the Arab Spring.
The suspects attempted to take a Basquiat artwork valued at $45,000 from Taglialatella Galleries but instead made off with a half-empty bottle of whiskey.
Funding MFAs and all full-time graduate degrees, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports immigrants and the children of immigrants in the US.
From music and architecture to comedy and horror, these films showcase Ukrainian culture and its long-held ethos of resistance.
The artists showcased in Archival Intimacies examine the colonial trauma’s impact on Asian Americans and search for ways to overcome it.
Eiffel inadvertently paints its protagonist not as a great man worthy of scrutiny or praise, but as the Elon Musk of his day.