Who took this photograph?
November 2, 2008 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify this photograph. The form I have it in is cut from a magazine (or similar) and then glued to a piece of sturdy paper, the person I got it from doesn't remember where she got it. I just think it's a really nice picture and wonder if it'd be possible to get a better quality version somewhere. I've tried googling around, but to no avail.
posted by bjrn to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That photograph was probably taken during World War 2 (unless it's from a movie, which I sort of doubt) and these blokes were probably British fighter pilots, as that's a Supermarine Spitfire looking over their shoulders. I have tried putting this into Google in various combinations for you, but to no avail. Let us know if you turn something up.
posted by Chairboy at 3:04 PM on November 2, 2008

Would seem the photo appears in this book according to one of the reviews.
posted by chrisbucks at 3:14 PM on November 2, 2008

If you can't track it down, a high-res scan and photoshop can turn it into something that you can display, if that's your goal. I wouldn't consider that an ethical violation. In fact, just 5 minutes and little cloning and level adjustment produced a much better image. With a high-res image and some care, much more can be done.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:16 PM on November 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

It looks to me a bit like Douglas Bader, the fighter pilot (the guy with no legs).
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:19 PM on November 2, 2008

I don't know why but my vote for the pilot pictured would be Paddy Barthropp.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:11 PM on November 2, 2008

Thank you all for your help and suggestions. I might try going to my local library and seeing if they have that book, or just leafing through a few WW2 books with lots of pictures. At least now I know it's probably a British pilot. And if all else fails, I might just do the whole scan/photoshop thing, which I hadn't thought of before. Thanks!
posted by bjrn at 12:06 AM on November 3, 2008

I was able to track-down a softcover PDF scan of the book referenced by chrisbucks. I don't see the photo in the book itself, but it is on the back cover as shown here. Too bad the price sticker is in the way, but if you can find a copy in good shape, and someone with a good scanner, you should be able to get a better quality image of it. MeFi mail me if you want the PDF anyway, just don't want to post it here since it's 55MB.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:13 AM on November 3, 2008

I'd like to thank everyone again, especially hungrysquirrels and Morrigan. I emailed the Imperial War Museum asking if they might be able to help (because the photograph was almost certainly in their collections), and attached image I posted here as well. I sent that email a week ago, and today I got a reply from Ian Carter, curator at the IWM, saying it's indeed a Spitfire pilot who is getting a haircut. The photograph was taken in November 1942 at Fairlop airfield in Essex, unfortunately both photographer and the people in the photograph are unidentified.

He also informed me that I could order the photograph (both in digital and print formats) from their website, and gave me the catalogue number: TR 515. It turns out they have a huge database which is quite search-friendly (which I had totally missed before emailing them), you can find it here if you're interested.
posted by bjrn at 7:09 AM on November 13, 2008

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