Photographer Joel James Devlin has managed to almost achieve the impossible and create something beautiful out of something horrible: having a plane route directly over your house. His 50 minute exposures of the aeroplane trails over his house on the way to Heathrow have created some lovely pics. We liked them so much we asked wanted to find out more about his project…
Where did you get the idea?
‘I have long been experimenting with night photography, plane trails have often featured in my work by pure coincidence, bringing signs of modern life into what would otherwise have been timeless landscapes. I find something so beautiful and other worldly when recording plane trails using long exposures. Sometimes viewers are not sure of what they are looking at. I wanted to create bold images based purely on Plane trails, photographs that begin to demonstrate the sheer quantity of air traffic passing over our heads on a daily basis.’
Were they difficult to capture?
‘Getting the technique took quite some time to perfect. I had too pay a lot of attention to the weather conditions, cloud level, times of year and position of the moon and other atmospheric conditions. On top of that, spend days finding locations where I could get close to the action whilst being hidden away from other light sources.’
Do you feel like you’ve put a positive spin on something Londoners often complain about?
‘I still don’t enjoy the sound of planes, especially at 5am. But to me, any light traveling through the sky fills me with wonder. We have all seen stars, most of us shooting stars, and a few of us Satellites crossing slowly but when I’m watching planes at night, traveling off to far flung places, my mind fills with wonder.’
Does anything else in London inspire your photography?
‘London in general is a huge inspiration. I am always trying to find new ways of looking and recording London with my camera, but being so deeply emerged in the hustle and bustle of London life it can somehow camouflage the simplest things.’ Victoria Gray
South West view of Heathrow
View of Heathrow, looking east
View of Heathrow, looking west.
See more of Joel’s work, on his online portfolio.