“I flew into New York JFK airport from London on the 10th of September 2001, arriving around 10 pm. An electrical storm lumbered and raged as cabs poured passengers into Manhattan leaving a wash of recent storm water flooding the sidewalks all the way downtown. It was warm with flickers of cool air and the unpredictable atmosphere was brought closer by jet lag and the bewilderment of stepping off a seven hour flight into this.
After 9/11, I stayed on in the city for ten days not photographing much at all, it didn’t feel like my job and there was too much of that going on already. I returned to London late September then went back again to New York in early November; Though the city smelt the same as it did in late September, all fused electrics and burning dust, everything was different.
Back in London; and continuing to this date, I have made more and more photographs of these planes, generally from the same place, and at the same time of year, near where I used to live in East London. The holding pattern on ‘westerly operations’, takes all incoming Heathrow aircraft over Hackney, Islington, The City, Westminster and most everywhere else over London and its populace.
The aircraft in these photographs, their altitude, fragility and commercial purpose, their routes over our lives, now offer us an altogether more ambivalent identity. The most banal yet beautiful modern objects.