Creating spectacular images in the face of technical and physical adversity, Captain Alfred G Buckham (1879-1956) was the foremost aerial photographer of his day.
Between 1908 to the early 1930s, Buckham created aerial portraits that are awe-inspiring, poetic and works of technical brilliance. His 1923 photograph of London, The Heart of Empire, was voted by The Sunday Times as one of the world’s greatest photographs and more recently it was included in The Royal Photographic Society exhibition and book, Drawn by Light, highlighting the world's most important photographers.
During the First World War he was Captain in the Royal Naval Air Service. However, by 1919 he was discharged as disabled, the result of nine crashes that left him breathing through a tube in his neck for the rest of his life – but that didn't stop him risking loss of consciousness to capture spectacular images. In 1927, he wrote, 'I always stand up to make an exposure and, taking the precaution to tie my right leg to the seat, I am free to move about rapidly, and easily, in any desired direction; and loop the loop and indulge in other such delights, with perfect safety.'
In a precursor to Photoshop, Buckham also manipulated photographs marrying different cloud formations to landscapes, adding in airplanes and even painting features himself.