Monday, February 06, 2017

WW2 Aerial Photographs

I have always had a bit of a thing for unintentionally abstract vintage photographs and today I bought a large bundle of WW2 Aerial photographs taking during bombing raids over Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943 and 1944.  Many of them show the details of the landscape beneath the plane and in some cases even show bombs falling away from the plane. The ones which really caught my eye though are ones like these scanned here which, although possibly useless for the purposes of military intelligence, give a singular impression of what it must have been like to fly on those horrific missions. Dates and places are given on all the photos, even those like these in which you can't see the ground and, poignantly, the name and rank of the photographer is also given.


Jim said...

I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds a terrible beauty in these photographs. I have one that was also used for the cover of Sebald’s 'On the Natural History of Destruction', and I think it’s a great photo not just formally (the silhouette of the plane against the smoke and cloud, the serpentine lines of the falling target markers), but also because it puts the viewer in the position of both seeing the enormous physical destruction on the ground whilst also being able to appreciate the constant mortal threat to the aircrews.

Callum said...


You put it so well. I too am glad not to be alone in appreciating these images as full of meaning.



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