I’m increasingly interested in the rise of remotely controlled, semi-autonomous and/or fully autonomous camera systems as the future of landscape photography—using drones, for example, as a technical and aesthetic solution to various problems of landscape representation. So I was immediately intrigued by the BeetleCam project—an “armored robot,” in the words of New Scientist, designed by London-based photographer Will Burrard-Lucas—if only because of the weird comedy of watching lions, in the video embedded above, aggressively interact with a wheeled device they don’t otherwise understand.

But photographers sending machines into (or above) previously inaccessible spaces and scenarios will only become more common, whether it’s into the center of “a pride of feasting lions,” as Burrard-Lucas has done, into a leaking nuclear power plant, or, for that matter, down into the tiniest pipes and wires of a building, in a kind of architectural angioplasty, as worm-like endoscopic camera-drones learn to crawl and squirm inside the city, documenting places humans might not ever have been.

2 thoughts on “BeetleCam”

  1. These kinds of cameras are becoming increasingly useful in the construction industry. I got a personal tour of my ancient sewer line when I was trying to decide whether to replace it or not. The plumber put a camera down the sewer pipe and was able to show me each joint in the line between my house and the street. We found no cracks, no roots growing in the joints, no problems at all, and so I decided to stick with the old line. The little camera saved thousands of dollars and provided a great tour.

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