“They look like ants from up here!” is something you said as a child on an airplane. It’s curious how being so elevated can make you feel so small. As a child, it wasn’t a bad feeling that there were bigger and better things waiting for you. For once, you could say that your problems were insignificant compared to what lay ahead of you, and not being on the ground for the first time in your life gave you an entirely new perspective. It taught you that the way you see the world is not a universal experience, and that nobody can see exactly what you see—the same way we cannot see what birds in the sky see, or what the people of the past saw. Even so, continued advances in digital technology are taking us closer to that unseen perspective every day.

It seems there is constantly a new camera to buy or new software to download, and the advances in film and media technology are giving photographers opportunities to finally capture previously unseen point of views. Advances like drones and very high resolution cameras used to be something only the professionals could afford, but today, you can pick up an iPhone 7 and snap a picture with it’s 12MP camera, a resolution that you would have been lucky to capture with a decent digital camera just ten years ago. While you’re at it, you can swing by your local Staples or Best Buy and purchase an inexpensive drone for under $100. What used to be a livelihood for the best of the best can now be a livelihood for anyone with a passion to learn the ropes and try it out.

Technology has opened the gates for more photographers, but many consider it a bittersweet pathway. It’s a consistent truth in the world of tech that the newest equipment on the market will be old news in a matter of months, and the stuff you have now will be obsolete in a matter of years. There will be millions of camera models and inventions debuting in the next century, but there will always be millions of experiences left to capture. The necessary duty to keep looking and to aim higher than they have before is what keeps photographers from getting too comfortable.  It’s that feeling of being on an airplane for the first time again.

Text by Caroline Long

Photography by Goldmond Fong