Photographer pigeon

October 15, 2019


BEFORE Google Earth and spy pigeons, a German doctor by the name of Julius Neubronner designed special lightweight cameras in 1907 which included a timing mechanism which would activate the shutter at set intervals, leather harness and aluminum breastplate for pigeons!

He got a patent for this invention in 1908. This invention did not go unnoticed in Dresden, Frankfurt or Paris where people could see pigeons roaming the city and flying in the air with a little camera around their necks. The photos taken from their skewed angles and random framing had a live and wild quality which we can now equate to GoPros. It is said that the German military also thought of buying this in bulk to capture the battlefield. However, rapid improvements in the planes and such did not let this happen.

In short, I suppose we can say that Google Earth was inspired by Neubronner’s idea!

Ayesha Israr Ahmed

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019