Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today broadsheet newspaper on 4 April 2014
A bird’s eye view offers a unique perspective. Yet no humans had that vantage point until two and half centuries ago.
That changed when two Frenchmen — brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier — developed the hot air balloon. One day in late 1783, they achieved a successful manned flight over Paris.
As Frenchmen also pioneered photography in the decades that followed, it was just a matter of time before the two innovations were combined. The world’s first aerial photos (from a camera not supported by a ground-based structure) were taken by French photographer and balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon in 1858. Again, over Paris.
A French company was involved in the world’s first use of a motion picture camera mounted on an aircraft too. That was on 24 April 1909 – this time over Rome…
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