About this artwork

Buckham felt that the most spectacular cloud formations and theatrical light could be captured on “stormy days, with bursts of sunshine and occasional showers of rain”. This creativity led to him being regarded as the leading aerial photographer of his day and he was renowned for his atmospheric shots of the landscape. Over the years he amassed a vast collection of photographs of skies which he integrated with a separate landscape photograph to enhance the drama and create a more impressive composition. This image over the Firth of Forth, encapsulates the romantic fusion of man’s engineering achievements against the dramatic beauty of nature. The three steel arches of the Forth Rail Bridge are mirrored in the three biplanes, which Buckham added later by hand, silhouetted against the spectacular sky.

Alfred G. Buckham

Alfred G. Buckham

Alfred Buckham's first ambition was to be a painter, but after seeing Turner's pictures in the National Gallery, he returned home and made a bonfire of his own work. He was the first head of aerial reconnaissance for the Royal Navy in the First World War and later a captain in the Royal Naval Air Service. After crashing nine times he was obliged to undergo a tracheotomy and was discharged as a hundred per cent disabled. Nevertheless, he continued to take aerial photographs with a heavy plate camera, leaning perilously out of the aeroplane, where his delight in picture making greatly increased the risk of accident.