Dronestagram turns Instagram feed into political statement
Photographers have been exposing the brutality of war since the camera was invented. Photojournalists were credited for causing the public outrage needed to spur the anti-war movement of the 1960s and they continue to be of major importance today as they put a face to fighting around the world.
The growing use of drones in Afghanistan by both U.S. and British forces has caused controversy. On paper, drone strikes are a way for the military to carry out missions while ensuring that they receive no casualties of their own. In reality, drone attacks killed between 2,562-3,325 people, of whom an estimated 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children, in Pakistan alone between June 2004 and mid-September 2012.
In an act of protest against the general public’s disregard for the brutality of drone attacks, London-based writer James Bridle created an Instagram feed to put a physical place to the drone’s coordinates. Bridle explains his view on drone attacks on his website:
“What can reach them are drones, what can see them—if not entirely know them—are drones. At anywhere between five and fifty thousand feet, the drones are impervious to the weapons of the people below them, and all-seeing across the landscape. Drones are just the latest in a long line of military technologies augmenting the process of death-dealing, but they are among the most efficient, the most distancing, the most invisible. These qualities allow them to do what they do unseen, and create the context for secret, unaccountable, endless wars. Whether you think these killings are immoral or not, most of them are by any international standard illegal.”
Bridle takes information on drone attack locations from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He then grabs satellite images from Google Maps and uploads them to Instagram under the name @Dronestagram with info about an attack at those coordinates. So far, Dronestagram has more than 2,100 followers and has posted six images.