Log Book Statement
Whilst visiting the Polish city of Szczecin in early 2014 for a piece of work I was doing at the time, I wondered whether my father had flown there during the Second World War, as it was then the German city of Stettin. Between April 1943 and January 1944 he was an RAF Pathfinder pilot in Bomber Command, flying forty-eight sorties over Germany, Italy and France and a further two which were aborted for technical reasons. These flights are listed in his wartime pilot’s log book which I remembered from my childhood. On looking at it again, I saw that Stettin was the last of the entries from that period. I subsequently decided to visit all the cities to which he had flown, beginning in the spring of 2017. I continued throughout 2018, finishing in Szczecin in January 2019, aiming to make my pictures as close to the original date as possible. The intention was simply to go where my father had been, and to reflect on his experiences and on that period of European history.
Although I did extensive research at the National Archives in Kew, London, as well as through general reading, I used the material only as background information to aid my understanding and inform my choices. All the photographs were taken at night, as that is when the original flights were made. It quickly became clear to me that I should allow the particular experience of being in those places, alone and at night, to determine the nature of the work, and not try to document events or create some kind of survey. Certain images imagine the elevated perspective of the pilot, whilst others show the pedestrian's view, some even looking skyward. The resulting work is a response to being in those spaces at that time, reflecting on a personal and common history and the passage of time.
I later found an image of Nürnberg from 1943 which was made by my father’s aircraft and the only aerial photograph he kept from his time in the RAF, and decided to close the work with it.
Log Book was first exhibited in the Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin in May 2020. A limited edition artist book was published in July 2020.
In memory of my father, Maurice R. Chick, his crew, and all those involved in and affected by the air war over Europe between 1939 and 1945.
Berlin, March 2020 (revised July 2022).