Sunday, May 18, 2008


I went to the New York Photo Festival today, and saw a show curated by Martin Parr, there were photos of airplanes, taken from below, underneath, colored bellies like fish, Vicky said, and we wondered how one could ever shoot such a picture.

Lyne said she believed they were toys, she had read it in a magazine, or so she thought at least, she wasn’t sure, and we all looked closely, and Clement said it had a lot details for a toy, and we looked even closer to see what he meant.

Vicky suggested the image had been shot from the ground while the plane was in the air, low altitude, low speed, and then changed her mind because the size of the tail seemed proportionate to it’s nose, and I asked her if fish really tend to have colorful bellies like planes.

I said I thought it had been hoisted up high in a hangar and then shot from the ground but I didn’t understand how there could ever be a hangar that big and high to ever get the plane so far away for a camera to take it all in, from tail to nose, one wing to the other.

There was a guard sitting by the entrance, big, black and with diamond studded earrings, bling bling, leaning back in a white plastic chair, clicking a tally counter for each person flashing their entry ticket in his face.

“Is there someone we can ask?” someone said, “there’s that guy over there, but he doesn’t really look like…”, I said, and chose not to finish the sentence because I felt embarrassed by what I had thought.

I went over to him and said: “Sir, do you know if those planes are toys or real?” and he looked out the window, like he didn’t care at all, and then he started explaining to us, in the most eloquent way ever, how he believed they were real, because the light reflected on the planes denoted that the object in question was huge and not tiny, or something like that.

“How do you know all this?” I asked him, “three years as a security guard”, he said and clicked his tally counter twice.

We stepped outside, felt baffled, laughed in a baffled way, Clement came out and someone said: “Did you hear that guy speak?!” and Clement hadn’t, so we told him, spoke at the same time all of us, still baffled, pointed to the window, up high, where the guy was sitting, he could see us but was looking somewhere else.

Marie came, asked what was going on, and we pointed again, still baffled, he could still see us but was still looking somewhere else.

“I taught ‘em alright,” I imagine him thinking, and he did, teach us, I mean, because I wouldn’t know for sure what he was thinking when he looked out the window, not at us but somewhere else, but still able to see us standing there, baffled, laughing in a baffled way.

They’re not toys, they’re real, I found online, just like the guy said, but I still don’t know how they were shot.


anna said...

If it's a very bright, but not sunny day -you know, one of those days when the sky is one even shade of gray, but still you squeeze your eyes when you step outside, because somehow the light hurts so much- then you could lay down on your back in a field near an airport. Position yourself in the exact line of a landing strip, set up a tripod above your head, your super good large-format camera directed at the sky, then set the shutter speed very very fast, a thousand's of a second, focus on the last plane that flew over, hope the next one will fly equally high, then maybe you'll get a picture of a bright coloured plane belly.

Sarah Carlson said...

You're the smartest Ms. Hoetjes. I can even sort of picture you lying there with your curly-haired head cushioned by the grass.

lyne said...

i think i was confused because the text in the magazine says how much he loved or must have loved miniature planes when he was a child and how these pictures are a schoolboy fantasy. sorry everybody.
and thank you for looking up!

Sarah Carlson said...

Ma poule, I think I read that somewhere, too. Or at least some critic commented on how they do wind up looking like toys. Kind of funny that Vicky is the one most likely to be right, considering we were all laughing a bit at her suggestion...

Leena said...

Oh my Anna, thats exactly how i imagined it! guess i could not verbalize it well enough that day to convince people. the planes fly really low close to the airport. the reason i was looking at the size of the front and the tail was that when they are taking off/landing, the front should be further up. guess not so much when landing... sarah, that was a very insightful post on that particular moment. enjoyed reading it and living through it again!