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Redondo, Hegen Win BJP Drone Award Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 April 2018

The British Journal of Photography has awarded its 2018 Drone Photography Award to Markel Redondo and Tom Hegen. Redondo's Sand Castles (Part II) explores the estimated 3.4 million deserted houses in Spain. Hegen's Salt Series documents salt production across Europe.


Redondo first photographed the abandoned developments in 2010. Eight years later, equipped with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, he retraced his footsteps, returning to the same sites and visiting new ones.

Sand Castles. Courtesy of Markel Redondo.

In early 2018, Redondo spent 15 days driving across southern Spain where he photographed 12 different developments.

Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by the European economic crisis. After suffering the combination of billions of euros in bad loans held by Spanish banks and a real estate bubble that burst in 2007, Spain's economy now faces multiple challenges. Sand Castles (Part II) highlights the problem from a new perspective.

"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," Redondo said


Using a drone, Hegen was able to photograph above some of Europe's largest salt production sites, revealing an intricate process otherwise invisible. The artificially-created ponds shown in_ The Salt Series_ are one of the core elements of sea salt production.

The Salt Series. Courtesy of Tom Hegen.

"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," Hegen observed.

Hegen is interested in exploring the relationship between man and nature and uses aerial photography as a means to document landscapes that have been heavily transformed by human intervention. The Salt Series explores artificial landscapes across Europe where nature is channelled, regulated and controlled.

"The contrast and geometric shapes of the salt ponds remind me of abstract paintings. Our need to arrange everything geometrically in order to regulate and have control makes us all, in a sense, designers of our own environment," Hegen said.


Launched in late 2017, the DJI Drone Photography Award called for project ideas that would make creative use of a drone to explore new photographic possibilities. In capturing subject matters impossible to reach on foot, the drone-shot work would open the viewer's eyes to new possibilities, encouraging them to consider the world from alternative perspectives.

Award winners Redondo and Hegen were each provided with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone and £1,500 project financing, among other prizes, to realize their projects.

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