A Favorite Photograph
Andreas Feininger: ‘Navy Helicopter Or Patterns by Helicopter Wing Lights’ 1949
by Greig Cranna
In almost 45 years in the business of photography, I’ve been influenced and entranced by many individual photographs, but there have been a handful that stand out for how they opened my eyes to something new.
I was 17 when I first saw Andreas Feininger’s photograph of a navy helicopter taking off in an introduction to photography book. Shot for LIFE magazine in 1949, it totally blew my mind.
It was my introduction to long time-exposures, something I hadn’t even contemplated at the time. The addition of strobe to light up the helicopter was a lesson I carried with me for decades afterwards. When you think that this was shot on film with no screen to confirm exposure, positioning or duration, it becomes even more amazing.