Arthur Batut (1846-1918)

A self-portrait of Arthur Batut, his photographic kite and Labruguiere, France from the air in 1889.

Arthur Batut is the father of Kite Aerial Photography (KAP). Niepce had taken the first photograph sixty years earlier, and with numerous refinements in the recording medium and the mechanism used to take the pictures, it was now possible to make cameras that could be hoisted by kites. His simple idea of attaching a timed camera to a kite sparked a sensation that continues to this day. In 1889 he took a oblique picture of his house from 420 feet that was published in a French magazine, his technique provided stunning aerial views that people were not accustomed to seeing.

The camera was held close to the kite, and inside the camera was an altimeter that could record the altitude of the kite when the picture was taken which made scaling the image possible. The timing was determined by a slow burning fuse that was lit when when kite was launched, after the picture was taken a white flag was dropped and the kite was reeled in.

"The secret of happiness consists in living the life without expecting anything from the people that surround us, but in the same time it is necessary to live it like if the others are expecting everything from us." - Batut


An American journalist William Eddy took the first kite photograph in the United States.

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