Don Rees

Back in the late 1970's while flying for Pan Am, I was doing a lot of studying of photography. I bought a 4 x 5 camera and began doing some photographic experiments with that camera. Primarily, I used it for photographing buildings, interiors, and portraits. The photography was in addition to being a musician, playing drums. At the local college where I was studying photography and speech, I also begun studying to be a singer. I knew that sometime I would want to perform as a vocalist, but that was to come later in life.


The portraits I took were not the typical smiley face photo that most people want. Some did have smiles, but rather they were intended to show the character of the person as I saw him.


So I enlisted some of my Pan Am pilot friends to allow me to take their photos. In return I gave them (3) 16 x 24 mounted prints of three different poses.


I'm going to make this Pan Am pilot photo project into 4 posts so the photos don't begin to run into each other and confuse the issue. First of all, some of the photos I'm showing here were scanned from the "proof". The actual photo that I have is 16 x 24 and won't fit my scanner. So the "proofs" are not the finished product. They have not had the dark room treatment of burning and dodging to get rid of some defects and bring out the contrast. So they may look a little flat. A "proof" is used to determine which picture is worth working on.


Below are three Pan Am pilot photos of pilot, musician, singer, Don Rees, which I'll discuss down below:






Don Rees is the Pan Am pilot in all three of the above photos.

Don was a great subject because of his diverse interests and talents.

Don was an accomplished musician, a clarinet player who played with Dixieland bands in northern California. He was also a vocalist.

  1. He was also a farmer, who owned an almond farm in the Stockton California area

  2. He was also a professional Pan Am Flight Engineer/Pilot.

My goal was to show that people look differently when performing in the different roles in their lives. When I placed 12 photos, 3 of each pilot in their different roles, on the walls for the class display, no one noticed that each group of three photos was of one person. They thought they were looking at 12 different people.

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