Bomber Jacket Photo Project...

johnslemp

Member
Hello Brett!
I assume it's a 442, as it does not have the stitching on the lower portion of the left pocket, and it has an additional tab just under the collar for fastening across the throat. Also, the one I shot is different from the ones pictured in that it has the 3rd Squadron logo on the right chest, and G.R. Bailey on the name tape on the left breast. It also has the CBI patch painted on the top left sleeve, and a really fantastic Flying Tiger jumping through the hoop (so to speak) on the back. I was told that it was worn by all three men by the museum staff, so that's what I know. See the attached file...
John

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MauldinFan

Well-Known Member
Looks like a worthwhile project. I have that Japanese flight jacket book (from the 80s or 90s?) as well as the McGuire books, but they're all kind of dated and most either don't have good photography or the photos are too small to really get detail out of them on a printed page.
The problem with photographing A2s, most are inaccessible in museum vaults, so I can see you get past that. And many of them, well, weren't painted very well (either the talent wasn't there or the paint hasn't held up to the ages). I will always believe that except for a few examples, most of the more impressive ones are in private hands, scattered all over the world in small bunches. That makes documenting them impossible.
You have some impressive work, keep it up!
 

johnslemp

Member
Looks like a worthwhile project. I have that Japanese flight jacket book (from the 80s or 90s?) as well as the McGuire books, but they're all kind of dated and most either don't have good photography or the photos are too small to really get detail out of them on a printed page.
The problem with photographing A2s, most are inaccessible in museum vaults, so I can see you get past that. And many of them, well, weren't painted very well (either the talent wasn't there or the paint hasn't held up to the ages). I will always believe that except for a few examples, most of the more impressive ones are in private hands, scattered all over the world in small bunches. That makes documenting them impossible.
You have some impressive work, keep it up!



I've been lucky in getting access. So far we've shot at the following museums:
  1. Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington, D.C,
  2. 390th Memorial Musuem, Tucson, Arizona
  3. March Field Museum, Riverside, California
  4. 474th Fighter Group at the Planes of Fame Museum
  5. San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego, California
  6. Allen Airways Museum, El Cajon, California
  7. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota
  8. National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida
  9. Kalamazoo Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  10. Lowndes County Historical Society, Valdosta, Georgia
  11. Indiana Military Museum, Vincennes, Indiana
  12. National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
I'd say it's about 65% from museum collections, and the rest have come from private collectors and families. Several other museums have sizable collections, but for various reasons, couldn't or wouldn't accommodate my request to photograph selected examples. Virtually all but a few of the jackets photographed have artwork, either on the front or back of the jacket.

We'll also have a chapter on how these jackets have influenced fashion design worldwide, a chapter on how to care for them, written by a professional conservator, and a chapter on collecting, written by a guy who knows.
We've also had the opportunity to create over 20 portraits of these men and women, many of which will be featured in the book, along with some of their stories. The portrait below is of Bob "Punchy" Powell, a P-51 pilot on D-Day, and is shown wearing a replica jacket. He flew three missions that day, over the course of 16 hours, and had to be helped from the cockpit at day's end by his ground crew, as his legs wouldn't support his weight.

It will have an index too, something the other books on the subject do not have.

In all, I want to make it a book I'd like to read!

Thanks!

John
Slemp_141213_63.jpg
 

OperationCoffee

Active Member
Gotta say, I've never been a big fan of painted repros as the work often looks too good/fine etc. but then I see jackets like those presented here and I re-evaluate my presumptions. That work of this calibre was done in wartime conditions is amazing. Great stuff.
 

MauldinFan

Well-Known Member
Gotta say, I've never been a big fan of painted repros as the work often looks too good/fine etc.
Same thing with nose art on warbirds today. Almost all of it is painted better than you'd see during WW2.
Almost all A2s, for example, would have been painted with either lead-based aviation paint or oils (if you were lucky enough to get them, most likely in England or Italy). Hardly anyone doing paint jobs on jackets today use techniques, paints or materials even close to anything actually used in WW2.
I've seen airbrushes used in each case and there's nothing that makes me face-palm myself faster than seeing that...
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
Hi John,

just tried to preorder but there is only United States as shipping adress in the drop-down menu ...

Any options? I'm located in Germany ...

Thomas

Hello John,

I second the above + re autographed copy. I'm in the UK.

Best regards,
Steve
 

ausreenactor

Well-Known Member
Hello Gents!
A very busy schedule prevents me from being on here more often, but I thought I'd offer this update.
Just finished the last of the photographs for the book, which will go into production ASAP, with a projected publication date of 1 July, 2022.

Not quite two weeks ago, I was admitted into the archives at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, and photographed 10 jackets.
Mind you, these were not just any A-2's, but a hand-picked selection, including:
Jimmy Stewart...yes that Jimmy Stewart​
Thomas C. Griffin, Doolittle Raider​
William N. Alsbrook, Tuskegee Airman in the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the 332nd FG​
George R. Bailey, David L. "Tex" Hill, and John T. Donovan...they all wore the same M422 jacket in the original Flying Tigers, otherwise known as the American Volunteer Group​
Philip M. Rasmussen, pilot who got off the ground to down one Japanese plane during the Pearl Harbor attack​
Evelyn Ordway Peterson, Flight Nurse in the Pacific​
Hub Zemke, multiple ace in the European Theatre​
Jay Zeamer, Medal of Honor recipient in the southwest Pacific​
Hess Bomberger, P-51 pilot in England and local Atlanta resident​
Max L. Markman, B-24 crewman in the PTO with cool "Flying Circus" artwork​
I'm hesitant to post any images, as a number have already been "appropriated" from various sources, and are now appearing worldwide on various unpaid-for websites. You can see a few that have been photographed at my regular website, www.johnslemp.com, and a project specific website at www.wwiibomberboys.com.
I'm giving a Zoom presentation on Thursday evening to a local photo club, and all are invited. While a few jacket images will be shown, for the most part the presentation will be about the "back story" of the project...how it came about, where it has led me, people I"ve met along the way, a bit about the photo techniques used, and where it is all heading. Be patient at the start, as I'm sure there will be photo club business to attend to.
Here are the details:​
Topic: Peachtree Corners Photography Club February Meeting
Time: Feb 10, 2022 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86132171338?pwd=cHc2U2FGMnNuVEdNRUtVZ0V0QWwwZz09

Meeting ID: 861 3217 1338
Passcode: 766825
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As to the comments regarding the use of "bomber jacket" versus "flight jacket"...I get it, but have to gently disagree. This book is meant for the general public, and as such, they don't know the difference. Since it's all been self-financed to this point, I'm gonna keep using "bomber jacket" as the general descriptive term, and the majority of potential buyers will know what that means. Soon it will be all about selling books.

To that end, it anyone would like purchase a book at the pre-publication price, go to www.wwiibomberboys.com to get yours now. Once they are published, the price will increase approximately 20%. By the way, 149 jackets have been photographed to date. Included will be chapters on preservation by a professional conservator, a chapter on how these jackets have influenced fashion design worldwide by a fashion historian, and a discussion on collecting jackets, by someone who knows much more about that than I do.

Thanks!
John Slemp
Photographer
The stance on 'Bomber Jacket' vs 'Flight Jacket' in your book could have educated readers? Anyone with an interest in the topic might raise an eyebrow before buying the book?

Judging the book by its cover, so to speak...
 

johnslemp

Member
Hi John,

just tried to preorder but there is only United States as shipping adress in the drop-down menu ...

Any options? I'm located in Germany ...

Thomas
Hello Thomas!
If you want to order now, just choose the "Pickup" method of shipping, and when it's ready, I'll contact you to sort out the shipping options. Many Thanks! By the way, where in Germany? I was stationed there for almost five years...near Frankfurt...
 

johnslemp

Member
The stance on 'Bomber Jacket' vs 'Flight Jacket' in your book could have educated readers? Anyone with an interest in the topic might raise an eyebrow before buying the book?

Judging the book by its cover, so to speak...
I do point out the correct distinction of A-2, summer weight flight jacket in the book as the proper term for the jackets...
 

johnslemp

Member
Hello John,

I second the above + re autographed copy. I'm in the UK.

Best regards,
Steve

Hello Steve!
If you want to order now, just choose the "Pickup" method of shipping, and when it's ready, I'll contact you to sort out the shipping options. Many Thanks!
 

Lorenzol

Well-Known Member
Hi John,

I have come across a few of your pictures before, particularly those of WW2 veterans, without knowing you were the photographer. Among, if not the best, WW2 veterans' portraits I have seen. True tributes to these men and women and a necessary task given that many, if not most, are not with us anymore. Well done sir, and glad that you are back in this house, so to speak. Welcome back and very glad to have you aboard!
And btw, I have pre-ordered your book as well and I am in France. If you could sign it that would be great! Many thanks.

Lorenzo.
 
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warguy

Well-Known Member
Hello John, after reading this post, I spent a half hour on your site. Thank you for what you are doing to highlight the heroics of these veterans (men and women as it appears you have interviewed several WASP pilots from what I read). The book looks fantastic, I saw the preview you have posted. I pre-ordered one yesterday and like everyone else, would love to have a signed copy if not too much trouble. I also bought a hat and it looks like I might have ordered the last one! You should make some more as I have a feeling when the book goes public there might be even more interest in the ball cap. I look forward to wearing it with my A2! Thanks again for what you are doing, I cant wait for the book! Kevin
 
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