I had the wonderful fortune of meeting Stephen Mallon as party recently. Not only are his images stunning but his enthusiasm for his work was so refreshing and infectious. As a rep, the excitement of photographers who are clearly invested and passionate about their work is simply contagious and, when the images are good, makes me want to shout their praises from assorted city rooftops. Since shouting from rooftops is frowned upon and relatively ineffective, this blog seems to be the modern edition of this expression. Stephen was nice enough to send me a few jpgs and contribute some insight which you’ll see below. These photographers are from the recovery of flight 1549 which landed in the icy Hudson river this past January. See his site here for more.
Q: How did you get access to the site?
A: Weeks Marine is one of my existing clients. I have photographed with them on a personal project about the recycling industry (they are involved with retiring 1500 subway cars from New York City) and they then hired me to document the delivery of the concorde to the intrepid museum in New York. When flight 1549 landed in the water, we were at a happy hour a couple of hours later and someone said, “I wonder who is going to get the plane out of the water?” The little voice in my head said “I know who!”
Weeks marine has the largest floating crane on the east coast (it can lift one million pounds, no joke), so i was pretty sure it was going to be their job. I called my client asked him if he got the job, and he told me he was finding out in the morning but was meeting with the FBI and the coast guard… could I please call Tom Weeks to confirm? I got him on the phone the next morning and he asked me if I wanted to come down to work. I said absolutely, grabbed my tripod and camera, and headed to Jersey. We left on the tugboat pulling the crane and arrived in the early afternoon.
Q: How long was the recovery process of the plane?
A: The plane got out of the water Sunday, January 18th at 12:30 am, so about 36 hours after Weeks Marine arrived on the scene. It took about 2 weeks until they moved it to the warehouse that it’s currently stored in.
Q: Was the salvage an emotional process for you or for the workers involved?
A: Surreal mostly. The crew were used to this for the most part, although every once in a while we did look down and say, “Wow there’s a plane underwater right there…yea I know!”