Recently, work began on a project that I’ve had in the back of my head for quite some time...that being to photograph WWII “bomber jackets”. More properly known as “A2” jackets, many have distinctive artwork on both sides, and of course are unique to their owners. As the horrors of WWII recede from memory, it seems to me that now, more than ever, is the time to remember the brave souls who sought to end this collective tragedy.
While making a visual record of a jacket is pretty simple, photographically speaking, I am often struck at the raw power that “simple” photographs have. Is it because there is nothing to compete with the subject...or is it the single-minded lighting approach that focuses the viewer’s attention like a laser? Perhaps...but I believe that by simplifying the images, they collectively gain a power that they might not otherwise have.
Fascinating to me are the wear marks that each bears...indicative of the utility they once provided the owner, and of the pride in which it was worn. The artwork too is unique to each, largely because each is hand painted, and is a moving billboard of symbols that tell a story. Bombs represent missions flown, insignia represent a unit that each man belonged to, and of course, the names.
As physical objects, they have taken on the patina of use that can only be created with something that is worn often. Frayed sleeves, busted zippers, dirty collars, torn liners, holes in the leather all point to the unique experience each owner lived...and to the very real men that wore them. One day soon they will crumble to dust...as they must. Perhaps with this project they can live on for future generations to admire and respect... as symbols of courage and dignity at a time when it was most sorely needed.
Each jacket selected for the project will be photographed “as is” front and back, using an ultra-high resolution medium-format camera, with a resulting 350mb (16 bit) digital file. The goal is to produce a book, including stories of the men who wore them, and perhaps an exhibition too, with life-sized prints. The owners will receive prints for their efforts, and the jackets will be insured while in my possession. Return shipping will be paid for.
Should there be questions, please feel free to call me at (404) 245-2411, or contact me via email.