Introduction and Summary
Other than my Wife Lorrie and our family, Aviation in all its forms has been the dominant feature of my life. Within this, my main passions have been Aviation Photography and Aviation History.
As every Aviation Photograph, captures a moment in Aviation History, it perhaps not surprising that I am concerned about preserving Aviation Photographs, in particular Collections, regardless of era.
I am very aware that for many people their interest in Aviation Photography forms a distinct period in their lives, after which other interests, concerns, or just the pressures of living, mean they move on and their collections are put into boxes, or trunks, which in turn end up being stored in attics. basements, storage facilities, or sheds. Then due to a house move, or major clear out, they come to light. It is at this point and depending on circumstances, one or more of the following will apply:
In all the above cases, it is possible I may be able to help! Obviously, I might not be able to, but please read through the remainder of this page including the 'horror stories' below. Then it you think I may be able to assist, use the contact link at the foot of the page!,
Why I feel Conserving Photographs is Important
Whilst there have been great strides in Aircraft Preservation, (but as the first of the incidents described below illustrates, important Airframes are still being lost to future generations) and Artists capturing the 'spirit' of the subject in their paintings do make an important contribution, but most Aviation History is captured on Camera and in many cases by non-professional photographers.
As time passes, many official photographs are 'lost', or destroyed, either accidentally or deliberately and that 'snap' taken on a 'day out' is the only record of that Aircraft, Airline Livery etc. Of all the millions of individual photographs only a few will ever be considered as historically important, but those few will be a 'God send' to Historians. Pictures Series of an Airline, Aircraft Type. or Movements through an Airport, capture not only the Aircraft but also capture a 'slice of aviation time' Again although only few will ever be published, as a resource for Historians and Researchers, they have an historic value, maybe not today, but in the future.
Therefore to me every picture is 'potentially important' and if I was extremely rich (unfortunately, the opposite is true) I would devote my time, energy and money to Aviation Picture conservation. As it is, this is my attempt to do what I can to help.
Four Sad Cases
The Aircraft that Died of Wilful Neglect
Ontario, Canada in the mid 80's. I used to travel a stretch of road, and I always looked to check on at a pale blue Fleet Cornell, although it could have been one of those built by Fairchild.
It sat in a back yard of a home, and was there for many years, eventually almost hidden by weeds. The fate of this Aircraft was described by a CWH [Canadian Warplane Heritage] member some years later. They knew of its existence, even looked it over, and it was good enough to restore. CWH asked the possibilities of acquiring it, to which the elderly owner said no. He was approached several times, but the same response.
Considerable years had passed, when CWH was approached by the owners widow. She said they could take it if they still wanted it. Now the sad bit comes in to play; the airframe was too far gone, and not one piece was salvageable. Had this been seen in a different light, then we would have had another piece of history looking good for all to see; it may have been possible to make it airworthy, but that, we will never know..
Fortunately the CWH did eventually get a Cornell , so all was not lost, but it could have been!
The year was 1989 and Wardair Canada had just been sold to Pacific Western Airlines. It was a quick case of ridding all links of Wardair that were deemed unwanted, or not required by the new owners. I personally retrieved a larger number of photographs from many waste bins, it was an unpleasant experience, rescuing what I could from Corporate vandalism.
Someone in the Publicity Department left an envelope full of large format Wardair Airbus A310 slides on my desk and other 'mystery envelopes have provided three of the pictures on my Wardair Pictorial Tribute Page. Other than that they were from Publicity, I still have no clue as to the person who passed on these pictures, but I am so glad they did. Back then it was a case of 'sweeping away the Wardair past' for a PWA future. For me however, Wardair had been my working life for 11 years and these photographs were important as a reminder of those years, so they survived
Now they form not only a personal reminder of my past career, but have additional value as part of Canadian Airline History. Each time I look at them, I wonder how much more was lost in this takeover.
A friend of mine acquired a very large rare collection of slides a couple of years ago, they were retrieved from an attic!
He was talking to another friend about aircraft; doesn't everyone? He is an avid Aviation slide collector, but he was aware that his friend was not. and indeed it was only during their talk that he discovered that this chap had been interested in Aircraft during his youth and had during that period taken some slides and these were still in his possession, but for many years stored in the Attic.
Here the matter could have rested, but is was decided to hunt them down and have a 'nostalgia moment',
Once located and brought down, the slides were shown and whilst there many 'rare gems' in the collection , so many had badly deteriorated, or been physically damaged due to the long storage in the attic with its extremes of hot and cold.
Whilst much damage had been done from this long term storage, the slides were donated to my friend and the collection is now stored in a stable environment, so no further deterioration should take place.
Food for Thought
Christmas 2006 and we were chatting with friends about my favourite subject; aircraft. Our friend was saying that one of his uncles had a shoebox of black & white photos of Spitfires during WW2 at Gatwick; they were on the site of the old race track. He asked if I would be willing to scan them and put them on a CD. Of course my face lit up, this was indeed a very rare find. Some weeks later our friend delivered the bad news; the old photographs were no more, in fact they had been a food source for the mice...
It was this incident that I think tipped the balance in deciding that I had to do something, to help and the result is this page!
When contacting me to see if I can help, please ensure rhe subject line indicates the email is about Rescuing Aviation Photographs - Thank you.