Come fly with me
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Most people dislike airports or tolerate them at best, but I've always had an enthusiasm for them. It's a combination of anticipating my final destination, and people watching. America may be the world's melting pot, but airports are America's melting pot. Call me crazy, but there is something I find interesting about the collection of accents, cultures and attire, juxtaposed with regional restaurant chains and local souvenirs you find in terminals.
It's hectic, crowded, loud, and colorful, but a quick turn of your head will provide a very different scene.
Airport runways offer a different view. They are cold, structured, and predictable, with the occasional splash of color from the logo on a planes exterior. But they also offer interesting lighting, textures perspectives, scale, lines, and shapes.
In 2017, during a trip to New Mexico, I started a series of airport photos. My flight arrived about an hour and a half before my shuttle bus ride from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. I browsed the stores and kiosks in the terminal and contemplated purchasing a Breaking Bad t-shirt. I was in Albuquerque after all.
The week of photography awaited me in Santa Fe, but I already had the itch to photograph. I scanned the area for some photographic opportunities, and then I finally discovered the Albuquerque airport indoor observation deck.
I lifted my carry-on bag up a short flight of stairs and was greeted by small round tables and wooden seats. The furniture was an interesting mix of a doctor's office waiting room and a small cafe. I made my way to the windows that where approximately twelve feet tall, sat down, and enjoyed the view.
It was open and clear. With the desert backdrop converging with the airport runway. Everything was very organized and structured.
My first instinct was to pull my DSLR out of my bag, but in a post 9/11 world, it may have been considered suspicious, so I reached for my iphone instead. After a few clicks I started to warm up to the idea of photography with a phone. Your technical options are limited without a traditional camera, but the absence of varying focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO force you to focus on composition and story telling.
The view was wide and expansive. It felt as if the large bustling international airport I was in, was in the middle of nowhere. It's was the perfect place to center myself before the busy week ahead. The week had just begun, but as I sat there I started to look forward to my future trips and airport photo opportunities.
When I start a photographic series, it's rarely open-ended. I have a goal in mind, and a story I want to tell or document. But in the case of my airport series, there is no final destination.