Behind the Cover: Jamie Chung on Photographing the Hummingbird Drone

Jamie Chung  for TIME
Jamie Chung for TIME

Don’t be fooled by its colorful exterior. This tiny Hummingbird is actually a surveillance prototype for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, developed by the California based AeroVironment. The Hummingbird—officially called the Nano Air Vehicle—is among 50 new inventions, which appear in the new issue of TIME.

TIME's Invention Issue cover, photographed by Jamie Chung

TIME Cover. The Invention Issue, November 28, 2011.

New York photographer Jamie Chung spent two and a half weeks shooting the Hummingbird—among a handful of other inventions, including the artificial leaf and a $100,000 razor—for the annual Invention Issue. “It was inspirational,” Chung says of the project. “Meeting the inventors was the best part. They’re totally comfortable with their nerddom, but so am I, so we had a lot of fun together.”

AeroVironment lead engineer Matt Keennon brought the Hummingbird to Chung’s studio, where the photographer shot it in several positions. The remote-controlled device weighs just 0.66 ounces, allowing it to go where humans can’t, be it spying or scouting out safe spots in combat zones. “It’s crazy to think something so pretty is used for something so dangerous,” Chung said. Indeed, who knew the canary in the coal mine would turn out to be a Hummingbird?

Jamie Chung is a New York based photographer. See more of his work here

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Follow her on Twitter at @feifei_sun.

Related Topics: , , , ,

Latest Posts

Namsa Leuba

A Fresh Look at Africa through Nigeria’s Largest Photo Festival

The LagosPhoto 2014 photography festival sees photographers present work that offer an alternative to the "Afro-pessimism" usually on display in the media

Read More
A North Korean woman walks on the peak of Mt. Paektu in North Korea's Ryanggang province, June 18, 2014 .

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 24, 2013

U Ku Tha La, 38, head monk at Nang Mal Khon Phoe Pyar Monastery. Kaw Ku Village, Kayah State.

Transforming Lives in Burma, One Solar Panel at a Time

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,661 other followers