Aviator portraits, Part III

Walter Lees in the cockpit, with a photographer (Frank Conway?) perched on the nose of  a Curtiss flying boat.

Here's another small batch of early aviator portraits, starting with Walter Lees at the controls of a Curtiss Flying Boat, and an oddly perched photographer.  I wonder if this isn't Frank Conway?  His photos are a different format from this photo, and you see the initials FJC in white, and a number in his photos, or sometimes just the white numbers.  The large format camera makes me think that not many of the photographers probably carried such equipment, and I doubt that anyone would be given this kind of access to a plane unless they were on the payroll, as Mr. Conway was.  I also highly doubt that this type of "saddle up" riding was allowed on a flying boat.  Fun photo, though.

Most of the photos have some caption indicating the person or persons in the photo, but this next photo lacks one lacks one, unfortunately.  I included it because I like the photographic framing, the eyelines (where he's looking) and the "flaps up" style of his flight helmet.  It's just an interesting photo.

Unknown aviator at the Curtiss School in 1916.

The gentleman below will be featured in a series of photos concluding the album.  Edgar "Happy" Bagnell was a zany guy, if the photos in Ivan's collection are any indication of his temperment.  I guess his nickname is a giveaway, and I found a reference to him as a "humorist" in a Nebraska paper.  He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Nebraska Aviation Corps six months before he learned to fly, and by 1920 he ranked Captain. 


I'll wrap up the people photos with this tiny photo of a poker game.  Looking closely, you can see that there are only chips in the center, but one guy has a dollar bill going onto the table.  I like the one guy glancing up at the camera, cigar in hand.  If Ivan took this, I applaud his ability to do candid shots.

Poker players pass the time at the Curtiss school in 1916.

I've been looking into the Preparedness Day parade in Washington D.C. as the basis for a post.  I have a number of great photos from this event coming up next.


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