And here's the lyrical and significant photograph he's famous for taking:
It's the very famous picture of the first manned flight of powered, heavier-than-air aircraft, the Wright Flyer.
John T. Daniels, a member of the Kill Devil Hills Life-Saving Station, wasn't a photographer when he took this—he'd never seen a camera before that day. The camera was a Gundlach Korona that shot 5x7 glass plates. It belonged to the Wright brothers. Later that day, Daniels was caught between the wings when the Flyer was flipped by a gust of wind and destroyed. From that day forward, he never tired of telling people that he'd survived the very first plane crash. With only minor injuries, fortunately.
It's hard not to love this photograph. Although it's entirely important for what it shows, when you take a minute to try to see it with "fresh eyes" it becomes apparent that it's a lovely picture as well. It was taken 109 years ago yesterday. (This is a day late—which is of course TOP's usual schedule.)
John Daniels died one day after Orville Wright did, in January of 1948.
(Thanks to Scott Kirkpatrick)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Tom Judd: "I visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial in May, 2009 and photographed the Stephen H. Smith sculpture that contains the bronze statue that you showed. You might be interested in my photo that shows the context of that statue. It's quite a moving presentation—makes you feel like you were there."
William Barnett-Lewis: "I have a big print of this image on my living room wall and I never tire of looking at it. It is a great image technically, artistically and historically as you mention. But for me, the jewel in the image is over on the right—Wilbur running there in a mix of concern and joy as his brother lifts off for that first time. There is a tightly constrained energy there that is amazing to see captured. A decisive moment, indeed...."
Brian V.: "It is a really nice photo. I thought it was funny that you're basically 'pixel peeping' on at 109-year-old photo.
"Those Rapid Rectilinears are hard to beat. Check this out on ebay. All you need is some glass plates."
C. T. Halfhill: "As a Life Member of the First Flight Society that pays for and plans the annual celebration of the first controlled powered flight by the Wright brothers, most of the comments are true. Daniels' granddaughter is still living and also a Life Member. We are good friends. I am a former editor of our newsletter and wrote about the 'credit' re this photo. The brothers gave John T. credit for squeezing the bulb at the right time. This became important during the 100th copyright claims."