About this artwork

Buckham was the leading aerial photographer of his day and was renowned for his atmospheric shots of the landscape. He 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”. Over the years Buckham amassed a vast collection of photographs of skies which he could integrate with a separate landscape photograph to enhance the drama and create a more impressive composition. The title of this photograph of the Firth of Forth refers to sunrise in classical Greek mythology, and the ancient Greek belief that the rising and setting sun was due to Apollo driving his chariot across the sky. Perhaps with this image Buckham felt he was witnessing the sunrise in the way Apollo purportedly did.

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.