Mr. Bowen’s Kodachromes

On December 16th, 1960 a Trans World Airlines Lockheed Super Constellation collided midair over Brooklyn with a United Airlines Douglas DC-8. The T.W.A. flight — a slow moving propeller plane — was heading from Columbus, Ohio en route to LaGuardia. The other plane, a much more advanced jetliner, was destined for Idlewild airport (JFK) with 77 passengers from Chicago. Had he not been running late and missed the flight, passenger #78 on United 826 would have been Sir Edmund Hillary. All together, the crash killed 134 people, being one of the worst air disasters at the time. It is a fascinating story that was highlighted extremely well on the NY Times City Room blog.

One of the many new things I learned from the coverage in the Times, was that in addition to being skilled aviator, T.W.A. co-pilot Dean Bowen was also a talented photographer. Through his travels he used Kodachrome to document life as he saw it. A commenter in one of the NYT posts pointed readers to a Flickr set of Bowen’s images — truly wonderful stuff. It’s a terrible thing that happened over Park Slope 50 years ago, but some solace can be found in Mr. Bowen’s images live on in all of their color and amazement.

Comments on “Mr. Bowen’s Kodachromes

    Ye Ole Generalon January 28, 2011 @ 4:02 PM:

    Beautiful pictures by Bowen. A lot of great, interesting pictures on the NY Times blog. Thanks Michael, great post!

    Ray Hullon January 28, 2011 @ 4:24 PM:

    How ironic that 50 years later a T.W.A. co-pilot’s published work would include shot #2 of GCS, showing the airspace right where the PanAm building would rise a couple years later. Nice stuff.

    Paulon January 28, 2011 @ 4:28 PM:

    Where was shot #7 taken?

    Brianon January 28, 2011 @ 5:58 PM:

    Grand Central Terminal

    Johnon January 28, 2011 @ 7:26 PM:

    Love the blog. Daily reminders of why our country is a phenomenal, and unique, place.

    Rick Barryon January 29, 2011 @ 2:50 PM:

    I have been re-photographing some of deans slide film using a Nikon D3 and a 105mm Nikon macro lens. I back light the individual slides with a 750W Tota lamp.

    I have a few hundred of his slides that my mother gave me and I’m sure that there are more that my mother gave to his daughters … my two half sisters.

    The slides I have are out of their cases and some are mixed up and so It is difficult to determine some of the locations. I have asked my mother via the phone about some of the locations and she has given me that information.

    I will re-photograph more of his work this winter. His work has inspired me as a photographer and a photojournalist.

    Rick Barry Seattle WA

    My Affair with Michael Bastianon January 29, 2011 @ 6:56 PM:

    Travel is such a poignant muse

    Andyon February 1, 2011 @ 6:02 PM:

    “Mad Men” used that air crash in its first season as a plot point in a story involving the death of Pete Campbell’s father.

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