Award-winning travel photographer Chase Guttman has captured a series of breath-taking aerial shots after visiting all 50 US states and 50 countries before his 21st birthday.
Guttman has spent the past two years honing his drone photography skills and after travelling across the USA and the world. Throughout his travels he has captured his home country from the skies, creating images unlike anything we’ve seen before. Highlights of his work include a colourful image of Atlantic City’s pier, as well as capturing Niagara Falls’ vast scale and San Francisco’s winding streets.
This glorious photography has earned Guttman over 45,000 avid followers on Instagram, and he has been names as one of the platform’s rising stars. The artistic adventurer visited his 50th country at the age of 18 and has also captured fascinating arial shots of countries including French Polynesia and the Mediterranean.
As he celebrates the arrival of his first book, The Handbook of Drone Photography – A Complete Guide to the New Art of Do-It-Yourself Aerial Photography, we caught up with Guttman to here more about his work.
You visited all 50 states by the time you were 18. What did that experience teach you?
I think what’s most spectacular about the United States is the many worlds that you can discover within the country, a region, a state or even a city. The diversity of the nation is simply astounding and it is an addictive thing to explore as an artist and as a curious individual.
What do you find so fascinating about taking photographs from the sky? How did this book come about?
As a travel photographer, I have always been fascinated by perspective and the power it holds in creating effective imagery. Drone technology owns the visual world that’s just out of the reach of the longest selfie stick and the lowest hovering helicopter. Drones are such an exciting visual frontier because they allow humans to experience and see things that few have previously imagined. This is what originally drew me to the medium and ultimately motivated me to write this book.
When did you first discover your love of photography?
My father, Peter Guttman, is an extraordinary travel journalist and I’ve had the distinct honour to not only evaluate his imagery, but also observe his artistic process since I was an infant. As a result, cameras have always had an incredible role in my life. In the beginning, I was the one in front of the camera – whether it was the moment I came out of the womb or the day I entered elementary school. In my early grade school years, I got a point and shoot camera (losing, dropping and damaging an assortment of these point and shoot cameras in a remarkably short stretch of time). However, I finally got “serious” about photography with my first DSLR, a Nikon D50, that I received when I was twelve years old.
How has social media played, particularly Instagram, played a role in your work and success?
Instagram has been a game changer for my young career. I was particularly honoured to be named a Rising Star by the platform itself and, recently, an “Instagram superstar” by Travel + Leisure. Social media is such a wonderful tool for creatives as it gives us a platform to immediately engage with an audience that shares a similar interest in the visual world.
You must have had some really incredible experiences whilst travelling. What are some of the most memorable moments?
From riding ostriches and cage diving with great white sharks to sleeping on swamp platforms and in ice hotels, choosing a favourite travel moment, for me, is incredibly difficult. Perhaps one of my strangest experiences to date actually involves a drink. The sourtoe cocktail is served in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada and is a drink that features a severed human toe that’s preserved in salt and plopped in a glass of Yukon Jack. There’s a “toe master” who actually administers the drink telling all willing participants, “you can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.” He then signs and hands you a certificate upon the drink’s completion.
What’s next for you?
In the short term, I hope to capture the essence of amazing travel destinations in Portugal and Greece and exotic locales like Papua New Guinea and Antarctica, but in the long term I want to continue lecturing about drones (as I have for B&H and will soon do for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography) and the potential that this technology holds, not just for storytelling, but for changing the world.
Follow Guttman on Instagram @ChaseGuttman