Thousands of tear sheets, 39 countries, and one Parade cover story with Eddie Adams later, having soldiers guard the Holy Land in the Sinai Desert during Christmas and eating a Thanksgiving Day feast remind me how fortunate my family is. Hopefully military photojournalism will continue to remind us how fortunate we are to live our lives
in freedom. o
Gomez is contributing editor of this SP&D special report
Ken Hackman is founder, U.S. Air Force Photojournalism Program. For 30 years conducted seminars worldwide for government and civilian photographers; managed a worldwide staff of photojournalists. Highly regarded photographer, covered Vietnam in '66 and '72; has photographed, air to air, most aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Two-time recipient of National Press Photographers' Association awards; recognized with naming of Ken Hackman Electronic Imaging Center, at dedication of facility for 4th Combat Camera Squadron (USAFR); long-time member of Eddie Adams Photography Workshop.
In 1968, on assignment covering activities of the Air Force's Air Defense Command, I was on the flight line at McDill AFB, Fla, when a shower drenched the area, resulting in a double rainbow, with the plane and rainbows reflected in the wet ramp. I always considered this a very lucky photo.
© Ken Hackman
On assignment to cover the activities of the Air Force Reserve capabilities in 1988, I arranged a flight of a C-5 Galaxy aircraft, with the south end of Manhattan as the background.
© Ken Hackman
In the mid- to late-50s-long before I had students calling me
"Godfather" of the U.S. Air Force Photojournalism Program, I served
as an Air Force photographer working out of Yokota Air Base, Japan,
covering activities in the Far East. A short time later, as a
civilian photographer working for the Department of the Air Force,
I documented Defense Department and Air Force events, including the
U.S. final atomic tests conducted in the atmoshere in the
During my years working for the Air Force as a civilian photographer, I flew in most of the high-performance fighter aircraft available. The challenge was to try to create images different from the usual air-to-air shots of the aircraft flying straight and level against a blue sky. I experimented with lenses, angles, and positions.
From 1971 until I retired in 1995, I more or less managed, massaged, cajoled, and directed the U.S. Air Force Photojournalism Program. At the same time I was directly supervising on a daily basis 20-30 photojournalists. We were responsible for photographing any event with Air Force interest or participation on a worldwide basis, including military exercises, real-world events, humanitarian events, the Olympic Games, human interest stories. So many memorable images.
In '89, I worked as a still photographer for the aerial unit on the film Firebirds; a U.S. Army apache helicopter was photographed near Tucson during the filming.
Requested by the crew of Air Force One to photograph the new Boeing 747 Presidential aircraft in 1983-I had taken the two previous photos-we shot from a Jet Star aircraft, selecting the Mt. Rushmore location as the background. The image remains the official photo of Air Force One.
On assignment to show the Air Force's Air Mobility command capabilities, I photographed a C-5 Galaxy aircraft flying over the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background from the back ramp of another cargo aircraft. I received Kodak's Crystal award for this photo.
In 1966, on assignment to show Air Force participation in the Vietnam War, I mounted the camera on the aircraft bulkhead and photographed the firing of mini-guns on a mission over South Vietnam. Flying in total darkness, I rewound the film twice after landing, made exposures of the men by the mini-guns, then covered the lens with a red filter and made a third exposure for an overall red cast inside the craft.
Since 1957, I accompanied and photographed Bob Hope on various trips, including USO tours.
It's been one great adventure. After spending almost 40 years with Air Force still photography, and seeing it become a respected resource for visual images, I have no desire to walk away from what was-and still is-the love of my life!
Lou Jones (www.fotojones.com) covered government, military, guerrilla leaders in Central America, Perestroika, fall of Berlin Wall. Created "Sojourner's Daughters" for Museum of Afro-American History. Images also in Corcoran Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Cooper Hewitt Museum. Five-year personal project documents U.S. men and women on death row. Photo illustration and location photography clients include Nike, Federal Express, KLM, Met Life, Fortune.
The Guatemalan government addressed the problem of Indians being displaced by erecting this ac'txumbal refugee camp. The story, to me, was the uneasy and unsavory involvement of the military-who were accused of creating as many refugees as helping them-so I juxtaposed Indians and soldiers in this photo.