One of my projects as a Planet Labs Artist in Residence is going to be commemorative portrait drawings. These are people that inspired others to push things far enough so that we have the ability to take photos of the whole planet from space. The first set in the series will be those that pioneered imaging of the planet in new and strange ways. These are my pencil sketches. The next step will be to "ink" the drawings with a brush to solidify the forms. I'm working roughly in the aspect ratio of the panels for the dove satellites that Planet uses to photograph the Earth from orbit.
Gaspard-Felix "Nadar" Tournachon was the first to photograph the ground from hot-air balloon. His exploits inspired his friend, Jules Verne, to write influential works for fiction like "From the Earth to the Moon" and "Around the World in 80 Days".
R. Buckminster Fuller recognized the power of observing changes on the planet through imaging over time. He envisioned a "Geoscope" from which one could view the entire Earth by standing inside a large sphere-like polyhedron, making it easy to grasp the connectedness of the planet.
Eadweard Muybridge understood the power of sequential images, landscape photography and innovation in the medium. He experimented with stereoscopic photography and other techniques in San Francisco, not far from where Planet Labs is now.
Julius Neubronner combined his love of birds with his interest in photography to create the first pigeon paparazzi. Pigeon photography was successful but didn't last long thanks to airplanes and rockets. Doves, however, still continue to photograph from even higher altitudes.