Soviet Air Force Project
by Mark Wagner Photography
струмінь дівчина (Jet Girl)
You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky. ~Amelia Earhart
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned
skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. ~Leonardo Da Vinci
Editing by Abby Wade - Arro Studio
I grew up on air force bases around supersonic jets. I flew as a private pilot most of my adult life, so I acted as my own consultant / art director for this project. These images were, for the most part, done in my head - weeks before the shoot. My best work is always like that. Or at least I think so.
My idea for this project was to create a M*A*S*H style military unit made up of young Russian and Polish women at an air force base in some unnamed Eastern Bloc country during the Cold War. They're good at their jobs, but are a bunch of non-conforming misfits. Their superiors placed them at a remote airbase in the hopes they wouldn't stir up much trouble.
Led by mischievous Ukrainian Lieutenant Colonel Agafodora, the daughter of a high ranking Party member and the only female test pilot in the USSR, the unit is constantly at odds with their superiors. Rather than train and prepare for all out nuclear war, they prefer to shop, wear the latest Western fashion and listen to American and British rock music. My Jet Girls.
Alena, Amber, Angie, Kerra and Tarryn were really fun to work with and had a great time on our road trip to upstate New York. Retired Navy Captain Jon Blanchett was kind enough to turn over his maintenance hangar and priceless MiG-17D jet fighter to us for two days of shooting. This plane flies regularly in airshows around the country and operates at Mach 0.93 (700+ mph).
In addition to the authentic Soviet Air Force uniforms and artifacts I brought, Jon had Polish Air Force G suits, pressure helmets and mechanics uniforms. Alena, my pilot, had her all female ground crew to pose with her. Kerra doubled as a spy and I jumped into one of the shots myself as a man of international mystery and intrigue (a lifestyle many say I maintain anyway).
|This shot was a fun idea I thought of a few days before the shoot and Angie was kind enough to try it out.
I wanted a period look - late 50s, early 60s - innocent naughtiness that one might see in an old James Bond film.
I added the tail of a Soviet Bear bomber in the right side of the shot. The hangars are much too modern, however.
Lieutenant Colonel Agafodora using her authentic Kiev 35mm rangefinder camera.
MiG-17 Preflight inspection
Medium format film
© Interrupted Photography
© Interrupted Photography