Jay Beckman: A Passion for Aircraft Photography Takes Flight

JBeckman_ISAP_Portrait image Although the high quality of Jay Beckman’s digital photo images can certainly inspire many photographers, it is his willingness to quit his broadcasting career of almost 25 years and go pro that is the important lesson. Photography can become a new career at virtually any time IF one is prepared for the challenge and truly committed to being successful.

Beckman’s dual passions of photography and aviation were strong enough to convince him to quit his day job and launch a second career. His Web site, CrossWindImages.com, reveals an interest in many types of photography: the natural world, people, still life and structures. It’s clear, however, that aviation tops the list, which is only reinforced when viewing the many incredible images on the site.

His air-to-air photos are particularly spectacular, as he takes the viewer amazingly close to the cockpit and pilot of a stunt plane or a military aircraft. Dan Pimental, editor/publisher of Airplanista magazine was obviously impressed, as he gave Beckman a photo spread in the May 2011 issue of the publication. Entitled “Fabulous Forms of Flight,” this collection of images shows how Beckman transcends the function, or utilitarian nature of aircraft, and renders them as artistic objects.

As Pimentel stated in a press release announcing Beckman’s photo spread, "I have been a professional photographer for 30 plus years and I rarely see a photographer with an eye for composition that Jay Beckman has. These images illustrate how a photographer with an artistic eye can look at a subject airplane and in it see things other photographers cannot. Beckman’s work is stunning, both in its clarity and use of available light as well as its artistic appeal."

The editors and readers of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine were also quick to recognize Beckman’s work. In the publication’s 20th annual photo contest, he received a third-place in Defense images and a Readers’ Choice Award in the General category. PilotMag, the #1 aviation publication, gave Beckman a full-spread in the November/December 2011 issue for one of his thrilling air-to-air images.

Through his Web site, Jay Beckman actively seeks interesting aviation stories to tell with his photos. He offers pilots the opportunity to have excellent images recorded of their planes, on the ground and in the air, as well as portraits of flyers with their aircraft. Beckman uses Canon digital cameras and "L" lenses and Elinchrom studio/location lighting.

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Photo By Frank Hatcher www.frankhatcher.com