David Free Photographs
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Above it All, 1987-2002

For centuries, flight seemed to be a struggle without end and such freedom seemed totally beyond reach. When it finally came to pass, the great French aviator Louis Bleriot, who was the first to fly across the English Channel in 1909, said, "the most beautiful dream that has haunted the heart of men since Icarus is today reality."

Most people are quite surprised to find out that the airshow is the most highly attended event in the United States next to baseball. About 26 million people flock to four hundred airshows across America between March and November.

First and foremost, I want my photographs to capture the romance and magic of fight. There is something about being "Above It All" that helps put things in perspective and I do believe that the public strongly responds to the multitude of metaphors that flight presents to us. It is about freedom, discovery, and breaking boundaries. It is the long sought view from above.

But I also want to place the airplane in a cultural context. And the airshow provides the stage that brings all the elements together – family and friends, man and machine, wonder and fascination, history and nostalgia, speed and derring-do, light and form, pride and passion, individual skill and team precision. The ultimate satisfaction is to see one's problems disappear in the skies.

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