In late March of 2014, I headed to Los Angeles International Airport with only a rough outline of an idea in my head. I’ve always been a fan of aviation, and I find the infrastructure, design, and architecture of aviation absolutely fascinating. I wanted to create a photo that showed not only that aviation and flight are beautiful things, but also showed the international flavor and culture that define Los Angeles.
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Los Angeles is a city steeped in aviation history and technology. Over the years, Los Angeles and Southern California have played host to some of the largest aviation companies and activities the world has ever seen. From designing and building Lockheed’s top-secret reconnaissance planes to building some of the first large-scale passenger aircraft and having Maverick buzz the tower only a short drive south at Miramar, aviation is everywhere in this region. Our main airport, Los Angeles International (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the world and countless airlines use it as a focus city for both international and domestic operations.
The day before I made this image, I was with my friend David Huff at LAX for lunch and some plane-watching, but the smog was out in force so nothing too special happened in terms of photography that day. Since I am generally interested in making photographs that aren’t just snapshots of a single moment, I had a thought that it would be interesting if I could seem to capture more than one plane in flight at once. And from there, this idea was born.
My intent was to capture only planes that flew out of LAX – highlighting and emphasizing what an incredible airport that this city has. It’s really fascinating to look at all the planes heading in different directions, ferrying people all over the world, all originating from Los Angeles. In this shot alone, there are planes heading to destinations on six continents – either direct or via multi-stop routes on the same flight number. Guangzhou, Auckland, Frankfurt.
I wrote a rather long follow-up piece and recap of all the events that this image created for Fstoppers.com, which can be read by clicking here.
Here is a selection of some of the stories that the image created from news sites around the world:
For more backstory and behind-the-scenes information about the original LAX “Wake Turbulence”, click here. Another recently completed photo in the project can be seen below, which shows an even longer period of time condensed into one photo – LAX from day to night.