The Magpie Anthology

Take to the Skies!

Take to the skies at Dimbola in October

Captain Alfred Buckham (1879-1956), aka The Sky Traveller, made some of the most stunning and poetic aerial photography ever created. A reconnaissance photographer for the Royal Air Service during World War One, he was eventually discharged after nine plane crashes, the last one forcing him to breathe out of a tracheotomy tube for the rest of his life. Against doctor’s orders, he continued to fly and take photographs. Buckham worked in open cockpits with his unwieldy camera, enduring sprays of oil and wind to get the perfect, painterly shot. His body of work is a marvel of photography ensuring Buckham’s place as one of the world’s best photographers.

Dimbola Museum & Galleries is hosting The Sky Traveller, a major retrospective of his work October 6 – December 16.

‘Alfred Buckham was courageous, almost recklessly so, insecurely squeezed with his large plate camera into a flimsy aircraft taking photographs nobody before had even dared. What he captured was a new world, its atmospherics; lost temples in the jungle, cities framed from the air, the wrecks of war, at considerable personal risk. The last crash he endured left him virtually speechless. But his glistening images are things of rare beauty, and Dimbola is proud to be allowed to host the first proper retrospective, and acknowledge Buckham’s genius’.  Brian Hinton, Chairman of Julia Margaret Cameron Trust

In an arcane precursor to Photoshop, Buckham also manipulated photographs marrying different cloud formations to landscapes, adding in airplanes and even painting features himself illustrating his aesthetic desires to get the image right.

Among a select group of admirers is Graydon Carter, ex-Vanity Fair editor. Carter, writing for American Photographer, sums up Buckham’s exceptional contribution perfectly , ‘a photographer blessed with a painter’s eye and a hotspur’s heart could only have accomplished what Buckham did, in a body of aerial portraits that are, ultimately, breathtaking.

For further information see: Dimbola Museum & Galleries


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