Aircraft: The Jet as Art

Standing at the end of a runway, Jeffrey Milstein captures images of aircraft moments before landing. Carefully positioned and using a high-resolution digital camera, he photographs them from below as they streak past at speeds up to 175 miles per hour (281 km/h).

Milstein’s favorite spot for photographing aircraft is runway 24R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). “You have to find the right spot underneath the flight path,” he says, “Not too far away and not too close. The plane can’t be coming in too high or too low, and if the wing dips a little bit to correct for wind, the symmetry will be unequal. It is just a matter of finding the ‘sweet spot’ so that the aircraft is lined up exactly in the camera’s frame.”

A professional photographer, graphic designer, and architect, Milstein infuses his photography with his lifelong creative passion and fascination for flight. His trained eye and steady hand produce images of pristine clarity. Using photographic post-processing techniques, he distills the subject from the background to focus attention on design, color, and symmetry. Milstein’s supersized prints seem to pull you into the air, as though you’re going along for the ride.

His acclaimed series, Aircraft: The Jet as Art, was exhibited in a year-long solo show at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and limited edition archival prints are available through the Bau-Xi Gallery in Canada. Milstein has also released a 104-page full color, hardcover book published by Abrams also titled, Aircraft: The Jet as Art

"In this portfolio I explore a typology of the varied cruciform shapes of jet aircraft flying precisely overhead as if frozen in space. I have decontextualized these highly detailed photographs to express the complexity and beauty of form. That these giant conglomerations of aluminium, can gracefully lift from earth is amazing. That they can return safely some hours later on another part of the globe is even more amazing. My aircraft photograph."

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