Rows of shipping containers, muddy marshland in Andalusia, an abandoned zinc mine – in the burgeoning field of aerial art, the most mundane settings appear curiously abstract, surreal, unearthly. It’s this desire to capture “how weird and wonderful the world can look from above” that prompted British brothers JP and Mike Andrews – AKA Abstract Aerial Art – to travel across Australia, the UAE and Europe with a Phantom 4 Pro, their top-down images flattening landscapes into bizarre-looking patterns. They’re not alone: as the tech becomes more affordable, drone art is gathering momentum with a horde of self-taught snappers. There’s a dedicated photo contest, the Drone Awards, now in its second year, with the winning entries getting their own exhibition, Above Us Only Sky (26 October – 1 December), at Siena International Photo Awards Festival 2019. A new, lavishly illustrated tome From Above, published by Laurence King this month, makes the case that it’s about more than cool aesthetics. With photographers like Milan Radisics charting how water shapes the planet, aerial art can, author Eamonn McCabe writes, “tell us about the changing face of our planet and its precious resources”. Lofty stuff indeed.