Beauty or Tragedy? Aerial Imagery of Spain’s Abandoned Housing Estates Wins DJI Drone Photography Award


"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

The winners of the DJI Drone Photography Award have been announced, a competition calling for ideas to make creative use of drone photography, and to explore subject matters impossible to experience on foot. This year, the two winning projects consisted of a new perspective on Spain’s 3.4 million abandoned houses, and the documentation of salt production across Europe.


"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

The first winning entry, titled “Sand Castles (part II)” was produced by documentary, travel and portrait photographer Markel Redondo, and focused on Spain’s 3.4 million deserted houses. Built in a frenzy by developers to exploit cheap loans, the houses now stand empty following the collapse of Spain’s real estate sector in 2007.


"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo

There is an apocalyptic feel to the developments, it is as if you are the last inhabitant in the world…we live in a society with huge housing issues, where many cannot afford a place to live, yet Spain has more than three million empty homes.
-Markel Redondo

Having first documented the abandoned developments in 2010, Redondo returned in 2018 to spend 15 days in southern Spain, capturing drone footage of 12 developments in an attempt to highlight Spain’s housing problem from a new perspective.


"The Salt Series" by Tom Hegen. Image Courtesy of Tom Hegan

"The Salt Series" by Tom Hegen. Image Courtesy of Tom Hegan

The award’s second recipient, Tom Hegan, documented the process of salt production across Europe in his entry titled “The Salt Series.” Hegen’s drone flew above some of Europe’s largest salt production sites to reveal an intricate process that many take for granted. By documenting artificially-created salt ponds, Hegen’s aerial photography captures instances where nature is channeled, regulated, and controlled.

The production of sea salt is one of the oldest forms of human intervention in natural spaces but we rarely ask where it actually comes from and how it is being produced.
-Tom Hegen


"The Salt Series" by Tom Hegen. Image Courtesy of Tom Hegan

"The Salt Series" by Tom Hegen. Image Courtesy of Tom Hegan

The DJI-run competition was supported by the British Journal of Photography. The winning projects, Sand Castles (part II) and The Salt Series, will be exhibited at theprintspace gallery in East London between 6th April to 18th April 2018.

News via: British Journal of Photography

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