National Geographic : 2010 Dec
PHOTO JOURNAL |DANIEL GORDON • Photographer Daniel Gordon soars---briefly---over a snowy field in New York's Hudson Valley. Daniel Gordon's book Flying Pictures was published last year by PowerHouse Books. See more of his work at danielgordonstudio.com. Taking Flight I can fly. I just can't do it for very long. I began taking photographs of myself in flight about ten years ago, when digital cameras were becoming easily available. Because digital images are so simple to alter on a computer, I wanted instead to manipulate photos the old-fashioned way: light through a lens exposing an image on film. This allowed me to make pictures that were at once documents of the truth and a visual fiction. To fly, I always worked with a friend. I'd find a location, set up my large-format camera on a tripod, and compose the landscape, making a Polaroid of the setting to figure out where I wanted to appear in it. Next I'd walk up to the horizon line of the landscape. My friend would shout to me when I'd reached the place I'd chosen on the Polaroid. Then I'd get a running start and just jump forward, up, and out into the air. My friend would snap the shutter. I'd do this over and over, making one photograph per jump. Of course I'd come crashing to the ground over and over too. In the picture above you can see how red my arms were from landing in the snow so many times. The photographs in this project may show an instant's victory over gravity. But in the end, I always crashed back to Earth.