Brian Doben Changes His Perspective
Initially, Brian Doben wasn’t really interested in getting off the ground and photographing with drones – even though it’s the popular thing to do. He was totally happy with his feet planted firmly and his camera in hand. But over the course of a couple years, the idea took shape in his head and lit up a passion that became his ongoing “From Above” series.
It all started two years ago when Brian photographed former Representative Gabby Giffords, and met her husband, retired astronaut and Navy captain, Mark Kelly. While in conversation with Kelly he mentioned that his twin brother, Commander Scott Kelly, was about to spend a year in space with NASA and share his experience on social media. Brian didn’t think much of it until those posts began appearing in his own research and catalyzed a shift that would send Brian’s eye up into the sky. “He was posting these incredibly magnificent images from space. I’ve always been interested in space but it’s such an overwhelming thought I’ve just let it go,” explains Brian. “But, I just started listening to his words and his images and his videos and I found they were spectacular because of the appreciation for seeing the world from a different perspective. I never really thought of it that way.” It wasn’t until a few months later that Brian got the itch to go up. “The summer came, and it all started to come together,” says Brian. “I was just looking around and I thought ‘I wonder what this looks like from a different perspective.’”
So he went out and got himself a drone.
Not too big, just something he could play with and after four hours of studying up on the technology, he took it out for a spin. He was immediately entranced. “Just being able to walk in the sky, being able to be at a different perspective within a scene, and the exploration of space and composition was amazing. This is what was paramount in the beginning of my career, it was about creating purposeful imagery.”
That small drone didn’t last very long – less than a day. Instead he traded it in for a much bigger piece of equipment and then the real work began. He got to work studying, applied for, and then got his license with the FAA. But it’s about more that bobbing and weaving through tree branches or getting overhead shots of abandoned school buses. It’s about how we see the world. “It’s seeing from another perspective, it’s seeing the environment, the situation, the conversation from the other side. It’s seeing nature from a different perspective, it’s seeing space from a different perspective,” says Brian. “We’re so landlocked, we see everything from the ground, but there’s such a beauty from seeing things From Above.” From where we sit and stand, our points of view are limited. At a time where broadening our world view is more and more valuable, as the world gets smaller and boundaries feel closer, as we get closer to strangers and must share more than ever before – it’s invaluable to see things from a different perspective.
We've provided a selection of work from Brian Doben's "From Above" here, but you can find more in his portfolio. And don't miss the short film at the end!