Vintage World War II Fighter Plane Photographs


vintage 35mm negative, copy of original, circa 1950

I was looking for some bulb flash units on eBay when I stumbled across some other vintage items that caught my eye.

I have always been a fan of WWII history, planes, ships, etc.  I spent a great deal of my youth building snap-together tank kits while watching classics such as Midway and Patton or re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes and Black Sheep Squadron.

While it can seem a chore, I enjoy scanning film and squeezing a good digital image out of the process.  When I found a few interesting negatives/positives of WWII aircraft I decided to check them out and see what scanning them would produce.

I scanned four black & white medium format and 35mm negatives of a North American P51-D Mustang, specifically one plane known as “Spam Can”.  These cover several phases of its life from the 1950’s and 60’s.  Amazingly, this plane is still flying today.

I also scanned two 4″x5″ color transparencies showing Vought F4U-4 Corsairs on the decks of aircraft carriers in the early 1950’s. The film itself was incredibly thick, and despite many obvious scratches (nay, trenches!) dug into them they scanned well.

All of these were duplicates of the originals, and you can see as a result some are very contrasty.  What you can’t see is all of the dust I digitally removed which was part of the copy itself.  (I could even see the copy holder grasping the original negative in one.)

Working with vintage film was a blast and I think I may have stumbled on another vein to chase in my photographic interests…