When General Electric debuted a new lower-emissions locomotive, the company commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning aerial photographer Vincent Laforet to take some glamour shots. The results are industrial porn at its most artful.
Taken from a helicopter hovering in tandem with the moving Tier 4 train just before sunrise in the plains of Pueblo, Colorado, the photographs resemble abstract expressionist compositions.
The action movie-esque process of getting the photos from the helicopter flying 500 feet above a moving train is as exciting as the photos themselves. “We got pretty darn close to the locomotive in the helicopter,” Laforet says in a phone interview, “to the point of blowing tumbleweeds onto the train. We had to use the helicopter as a blowdryer–the pilot had to hover over the train and blow off a dozen or so tumbleweeds that had gotten stuck on its front.”
Laforet specializes in tilt shift photography, a method that uses tilt for selective focus, which can make the scene below look like a miniature. “I felt like a little kid playing with a miniature train set, except getting paid for it,” Laforet says. The photos might make the rest of us better understand Thomas the Tank Engine-obsessed toddlers.