AirCraft: The Jet as Art

Closed on November 25, 2012

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. 

Jeffrey 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.

This collection of 33 photographic archival-pigment prints presents the power and elegance of aircraft in flight and transforms aviation technology into fine art.

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

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