This « Landing Lights Park » project by David Rothenberg puts into focus the NY neighborhood of East Elmhurst, Queens under the whining roar and shadows of inbound jetliners landing at LaGuardia airport. The photographer who lives in Jackson Heights, Queens within walking distance from the airport wanted to continue his wandering and explorational work in his own backyard. « As I got closer to the airport, the planes got ridiculously low and loud. I started to find I could make really disorienting compositions as I played with colliding foreground and background details », he says.

David ended up applying and receiving a small artist grant with his first images to fund a publication of a book. « As I continued shooting with normal lenses, I started to notice that in some of the pictures I could see a hint of detail of passengers through the windows. This was such a bizarre and exciting discovery for me ! This led to me experimenting with different telephoto lenses and fast shutter speeds to attempt to make the portraits of passengers with window seats », he adds.

« When I first started making the passenger « portraits », I thought of the experience and ritual of going through airport security lines and screenings and how this procedure often disconnects the passenger from any sense of the life that exists outside. It seemed to me that a airline passenger with a window seat had zero expectation of being seen, let alone photographed from the ground below ».