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Pan Am DC-8 photographed low alongside A30 in ~1976 preparing to land

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Pan Am DC-8 photographed low alongside A30 in ~1976 preparing to land

Old 19th Aug 2020, 13:55
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Pan Am DC-8 photographed low alongside A30 in ~1976 preparing to land

I hope you can resolve the arguments about a plane, probably a PaN-Am DC-8 low over the A30 near the current Meadows roundabout apparently about to land, at Blackbushe?

The photograph was taken by Joel Meyerowitz an aspiring young photographer, who went on to secure a world wide reputation who took the photograph in 1966-67.

The subject of the photograph taken in 1966-7 was probably the concrete pipe elephant. The history of this elephant is well known having been created by Barbara Jones for Trollope & Colls for the 1963 Lord Mayors Show. It was located in the entrance to the Trollope & Colls yard next to the Four Boys? petrol station.

Could this plane have been where it was in the photograph? Has it been added to the photograph? Where was it going to land.

Thank you.

MilneP




https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/99.247/

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 20th Aug 2020 at 07:58. Reason: Add photo
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 08:28
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It does look rather like it was added in the dark room to give the image another level of surreal.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 09:17
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A DC8 (not Pan Am) did a display at the Blackbushe Air Festival in 1977.
The photo is obviousiy a fake as Blackbushe is far too short to accept an aircraft of this size.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 09:26
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The IAS DC8 that carried out a display at Blackbushe in 1977 was this one.


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Old 20th Aug 2020, 11:25
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It doesn't look right to me, though I have been wrong about this sort of thing often enough.

Two things look funny.

1. The angle from which the aircraft is seen doesn't seem right for its apparent distance.

2. The photographic rendering seems different from the rest of the photograph. In particular, the contrast is lower than in the foreground. Also, if you look at the lamp post you will see, even through the layers of reproduction, the halo by which the background goes lighter and the subject goes darker just at the edge; standard 1960s wet-chemistry technique to enhance acutance and give greater apparent sharpness (and still used, in principle, in digital photography). The outlines of the aircraft do not display this effect. There's also something a bit funny about the way in which the nose of the aircraft is brighter and loses outline, in front of the brighter patch in the sky.

I'd take a modest bet that it is the product of combination printing, but not real money.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 14:00
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The photo features in both 'Joel Meyerowitz - Where I Find Myself' (a life-time retrospective written by Meyerowitz) and 'Joel Meyerowitz' by Colin Westerbeck. In the latter book it says "This photograph was made from a moving car, part of a series that came about while travelling in Europe for a year." It is titled "1966 London". I see no reason to question the veracity of either the image or the man himself.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 14:23
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Originally Posted by MilneP View Post
I hope you can resolve the arguments about a plane, probably a PaN-Am DC-8 low over the A30 near the current Meadows roundabout apparently about to land, at Blackbushe?

The photograph was taken by Joel Meyerowitz an aspiring young photographer, who went on to secure a world wide reputation who took the photograph in 1966-67.

The subject of the photograph taken in 1966-7 was probably the concrete pipe elephant. The history of this elephant is well known having been created by Barbara Jones for Trollope & Colls for the 1963 Lord Mayors Show. It was located in the entrance to the Trollope & Colls yard next to the Four Boys? petrol station.

Could this plane have been where it was in the photograph? Has it been added to the photograph? Where was it going to land.

Thank you.

MilneP




https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/99.247/
If the photo is real, its not anywhere near the approach to Blackbushe, not that a DC8 would get into Blackbushe anyway.......mind you Pan Am got a 707 into RAF Northolt so who knows, but that road with oil tanks or more likely gas holders, and other built up, doesn't look anywhere like the A30 near Blackbushe, its far too built up.
And why would he state London 1966, if it was that far out from London?
Trollope & Colls were bought out by Kaeverner in 1967 and still trade as part of Skanska UK, which acquired them when Skanska took over Trafalger House which had taken over Trollope & Colls.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 14:33
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The pic is taken just short of where the Blackwater roundabout is now on the A30 at Camberley looking west. The concrete elephant is still there and you can see gas holders in the background of the pic which have been demolished although their sites are still empty next to what is now the A331.

If it is genuine, then the DC-8 is on a low base leg for 25 at Blackbushe which is about 4000' and at a mile or so was about 1000' longer before the eastern end of the runway returned to common land in the 1960s - 21 at Biggin is about 5000' and has hosted the Orbis DC-8 and possibly their DC-10 at one of the air fairs 20 or 30 years ago.

I suspect the DC-8 has been stripped into the pic though...
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 14:38
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Originally Posted by GeeRam View Post
If the photo is real, its not anywhere near the approach to Blackbushe
The elephant (which still exists) is around 2.7 nm from the threshold of the current Rwy 25 at Blackbushe.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 14:47
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The OP hasn't helped by putting the date as 1976 on the header when the picture apparently dates from 1966.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 16:23
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I think rather like many 'reality' TV programmes are actually scripted to bring about an entertaining finished product, many images over the years have been tweaked and altered to bring about a resultant image that is either interesting or entertaining, especially 'arty' images. It's not impossible that a PanAm DC-8 did a low pass of Blackbush back in 1966, but I'd say with those screaming engines in a place where such crazy noise would not normally be expected, a LOT of very hacked off residents would have made a louder noise thereafter due to the resulting chaos (even if short lived).

I'd say the photographer took a shot near Heathrow, a shot near Camberley and merged the images to create an interesting image. He obviously couldn't have cared less at the time beyond creating a captivating image. For aircraft enthusiasts, such dark arts are heresy.

Out of interest is the elephant sculpture (?) anything to do with the Elephant & Castle elephants, i.e same artist etc ?
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 16:36
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
The elephant (which still exists) is around 2.7 nm from the threshold of the current Rwy 25 at Blackbushe.
OK, got it..................just down the road from me.......but no where I was looking, as I looking along the approach to 25 which doesn't cross the A30, hence why I was confused!!

So, has to be a fake then as no way would you be going in that direction and at that height if you were trying to get down onto 25.........in something the size of a 4 jet alirliner.......unless he was on a very tight low circuit as he would be needed to turn pretty sharpish very soon......?

I reckon if that photo is real, that is pretty much following the direction of the River Blackwater/current A331 heading north-west....almost on a parallel course to the old 32 runway, just about 2 miles too far east.....!??!?
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 17:39
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Why would a photographer with his reputation, body of work and number of global awards resort to dark-room trickery?
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 18:46
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In 1966 he didn't have a body of work, nor any awards.

He's got some good stuff on his website, but perhaps at the beginnings of his career, before he honed his eye for an image and maybe before he decided to do photography as a career, he 'might' have decided to spice up an unremarkable image with an aeroplane.
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Old 20th Aug 2020, 22:42
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Looking at the photo again the DC-8 looks to be in something of a dive, given that the shot has been taken with the camera at an angle. Also if you were flying a base leg in a big jet, would you have full flap deployed?

As SHJ suggests, I think he saw an interesting subject (the Elephant) and stripped in the DC-8 in to balance a not terribly well composed snatched shot.
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 00:28
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Originally Posted by Lyneham Lad View Post
Why would a photographer with his reputation, body of work and number of global awards resort to dark-room trickery?
I doubt if the photograph is straight photography. I am not accusing the photographer of anything. Since nearly the beginning of photography, some images have been made by recording what is in front of the camera (however artfully that may have been arranged) and some have been assembled in the darkroom. At various time, assembled and manipulated images have been thought to be more artful.

The photographer is not presenting this as evidence of something that happened in the real world. It's a picture. He's obviously deliberately tilted the horizon (or allowed a tilted horizon to stay uncorrected). This is consistent with composition of the final image in the darkroom. I'm more into straight photography myself, but don't regard manipulated images as "trickery" unless there's an intention to deceive. I find the photograph rather haunting, far beyond the interest of its subject matter or the quality of presentation of the main subject. But I don't think this particular event happened, and he was lucky enough to be there to capture it.
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 07:14
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The aircraft is 2.9 nm north and more or less on centre line of the Farnborough N/S runway. Relevant???
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 08:41
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Megan, it is heading more or less north, away from Farnborough - fairly well positioned for the Blackbushe circuit though I'd think.
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 08:53
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
Megan, it is heading more or less north, away from Farnborough - fairly well positioned for the Blackbushe circuit though I'd think.
On base leg for 26 (25 nowadays)
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 09:23
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Here's a way of calculating it, I think. My numbers are all dog rough, but at least they'll do for an order of magnitude estimate.

It looks like the pipe the elephant stands on is about 3 m (10') high.
The image of that pipe is about 1/3 as high as the image of the DC-8 is long.
First generation DC-8s were about 45m (150') long.

This is where I probably make a big mistake, but if the pipe and the fuselage were to occupy the same length on the image, the aircraft would have to be 15 times further away. But the fuselage is apparently three times the size of the pipe, so only 5 times as far away.

The photograph of the elephant seems to have been made from maybe 50m away. So the aircraft would be maybe 250m away, which doesn't seem plausible.

Please correct my mistakes.
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