Renowned Dayton, Ohio photographer Dan Cleary blends his passion for photography with a fascination for the Wright Brothers' legacy. In his book, Wright Brothers: Then and Now, Cleary seamlessly blends historical images of the Wright Brothers with current images he has taken at the same locations. The result is a compelling visual tribute to the pioneers of flight.
The Wright Brothers were accomplished photographers and used photography in their process of discovery. Cleary obtained digital photographs by and about the Wright Brothers for this project. He then traveled to Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, New York, and France to capture current-day photographs at locations where the Wright Brothers made their early test experiments and flight demonstrations. Using his artistry as a photographer and his mastery of Photoshop, he superimposes the old and new images into captivating new combinations where the past and present interweave. He also includes a written narrative in each picture about the people behind the history, helping to bring life to each photograph.
The image in the book "Bishop's First Flight" references the day in May 1910 when Bishop Milton Wright, the Wright Brothers' father, flew for the first time. He and Orville traveled to a height of about 350 feet and flew for six minutes over Huffman Prairie in Dayton, Ohio. The Bishop is said to have exclaimed, "Higher, Orville, Higher " The Huffman Prairie Flying Field National Historical Park is adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. While at Huffman Prairie taking photographs with this historical image in mind, a C-17 Globemaster III transport took off from the Air Force Base and flew into Cleary's camera's frame. Cleary states, "The C-17 and Orville and Bishop Wright's plane lined up perfectly It seemed to me that "Higher, Orville, Higher" was an appropriate metaphor for where aviation was soon to be."
About the image titled "Kite Flying," Cleary recounts, "While at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, Park Rangers started to pass out kites to visitors. It was the perfect opportunity to photograph, especially knowing the Wright Brothers used kites in their testing. Later in PhotoShop, I playfully inserted Orville and Wilbur with their kite into the scene." This photograph of Cleary's is one of the more playful images in the book.
Wright Brothers: Then and Now is a must-have book for the Wright Brother history buff. This book is available from Dan's website, www.ClearyFineArtPhoto.com, and at many aviation and history museum bookstores.