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Bolivian airline's demise documented in haunting photos

By dpreview staff on Aug 16, 2013 at 18:37 GMT

Photographer Nick Ballon stumbled across the Lloyd Aero Boliviano headquarters on an annual trip to Bolivia. He was captivated by the expansive property and dilapidated buildings he saw, and his curiosity sparked a photo series and collaboration with Bolivian writer Amaru Villanueva Rance. Six months exploring the grounds, talking with employees and researching the long history of the dying airline has resulted in a stunning photo series and a book called Ezekiel 36:36.  

Photo by Nick Ballon. A Boeing 727 with seats removed for repairs.
Photo by Nick Ballon. L.A.B.'s last passenger flew in 2007 - the remaining operational aircraft are grounded at headquarters without license to fly.
Photo by Nick Ballon. Former L.A.B. airline captain whose crew went on strike after salaries went unpaid.

Visit Nick Ballon's site to see more of his work, and check out the website established for the project. 

Via: Wired, Source: Nick Ballon

Comments

Total comments: 95
njkdo
By njkdo (8 months ago)

He his a great photographer, people here watch to much at camera and not at all at photography.
I like his style, series Eternal source of light divine is really interesting, a kind of staged documentary.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (8 months ago)

How convenient, that a bird just happened to die, right in the middle of the seat. :-)

3 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

It happens all the time on United.

1 upvote
Alan Brown
By Alan Brown (8 months ago)

Forget the images.. it's the comments that nearly made me spit coffee over my keyboard!

best laugh i have had for a while.. I liked the one response about the "cat out of sight in the next seat" :) :) :)

And "it's racist"

Thanks guys

2 upvotes
cercis
By cercis (8 months ago)

And don`t miss the one about the àir crew which `went on strike`after their paychecks were discontinued.

0 upvotes
Eddy M
By Eddy M (8 months ago)

Talking about national airline, SABENA's case was worst than this airline, it's dead. SABENA also had a former WW 2 (RAF) pilot who was awarded Flying Cross. This LAB is dying but not dead yet. So what's so special about this?

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

Only the fact that it gave many people a reason to bash south american left-wing governments...

1 upvote
Symansaez
By Symansaez (8 months ago)

So Sad.. I've been on a lot flights on LAB planes when I lived in Bolivia, oh the memories..

0 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (8 months ago)

I think everyone commenting up to this point have missed the most important point which is how sharp are the corners of these photos.

7 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (8 months ago)

That bird shot is haunting, the whole series has a special air... I feel really sorry for the staff. Love the training shot, I'd like to have that in my living room!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Midwest
By Midwest (8 months ago)

Ironic and sad that one of God's (or nature's) perfect inventions for flying should die trapped inside a flying machine that is grounded.

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (8 months ago)

The bird shot is eye-roll inducing. A documentary it isn't.

5 upvotes
Brad
By Brad (8 months ago)

Sad to see the demise of one of the world's oldest airlines and so many good employees out of work. I was there one week before Morales took office, unforgettable experience. Did not have my DSLR with me, but do have a several images from an LX1 compact. He is welcome to add these to his collection. http://www.flickr.com/photos/92277538@N02/

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
John P.
By John P. (8 months ago)

Nice collection of images...very haunting.

0 upvotes
scotbot
By scotbot (8 months ago)

Nice pictures spoiled by a really terrible website. Some horrible scrolling nonsense with a magnification option that just zooms in on the existing resolution image which if course looks terrible. Probably cost a fortune too. There is nothing fashionable about bad user interfaces.

2 upvotes
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (8 months ago)

I agree... I clicked the link to the website... and I only lasted maybe 10 seconds before leaving the siite because I couldn't read anything, and thus, couldn't understand anything nor could I see how to actually view photos. Terrible site... no... horrendous site.

2 upvotes
electrophoto
By electrophoto (8 months ago)

Indeed... nice photos, but simply couldn't stomach using that horrendous navigation....

2 upvotes
balios
By balios (8 months ago)

For a more dramatic effect, I would have placed the bird in the long hallway with the somber pilot looking down at it...

3 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (8 months ago)

Word. Contrived does not even begin to describe this. Not clicking.

2 upvotes
davidrm
By davidrm (8 months ago)

This is nuts. How are we supposed to know if it is any good if we don't know what freakin' camera he was using???????

13 upvotes
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (8 months ago)

You're kidding right?

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

OF course he's joking.

1 upvote
Wodheila
By Wodheila (8 months ago)

@ Serenity Now :

Let's hope you are!

2 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

@daviddrm: Camera? Are you kidding? If he's a REAL photojournalist on assignment in a foreign country he's OBLIGATED to use an iPhone and hipstagram. You know, to just prove it can be done. And of course to make sure he doesn't scare off any potential subjects with a big scary DSLR camera.

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

So sad to see people so deprived of sense of humour and intelligence that they can't recognize a sarcasm. Really sad. On the brighter side, fortunately some do.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (8 months ago)

LOL.

Newsflash: some people will never ever get irony...

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

I think the real problem is that the "irony punctuation mark" has never been implemented.

If they could have envisioned the interwebs back in the 1580's and realized what a nuisance the lack of such a character was going to become, surely they would have put it into common usage immediately.

When Fuji or Sony invents a full-frame time machine, first thing I'm going to do (right after checking the sharpness) is go back to 1580 and implement the "irony punctuation mark". Think of how many millions of people I will save from looking stupid on the interwebs...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony_punctuation

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Bobby Handal
By Bobby Handal (8 months ago)

Great photos, but far from the worst cases in those "People governments", it is very sad to go to countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, where now everything has gone to hell, everything deteriorated, thieves, beggars, poor people poorer, and the rich? left the country.... closed their businesses and went to Miami - leaving more people without jobs.

Before, they used to have a lot of poor, a good amount of working class with decent livelyhood , and a few rich, usually because they are industrialists and worked harder than anyone else, or stole it in corrupted governments. But now, under the "Peoples government" there is only two clases : the miserably poor and the wealthy government officials, but people are so ignorant and brainwashed that , as long that everyone is poor I don't have to covet thy neighbors weatlh I guess they are happy, even without toilet paper, and other basic stuff. Europe, USA, Australia, Nz, etc. you don't know how blessed you really are

5 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (8 months ago)

Bobby:

Some words replaced:

"Great photos, but far from the worst cases in those "People governments", it is very sad to go to countries like USA, where now everything has gone to hell, everything deteriorated, thieves, beggars, poor people poorer, and the rich? left the country.... closed their factories and went to China - leaving more people without jobs.

Before, they used to have a lot of poor, a good amount of working class with decent livelyhood , and a few rich, usually because they are industrialists and worked harder than anyone else, or stole it in corrupted governments. But now, under the "Peoples government" there is only two clases : the miserably poor and the wealthy government officials, but people are so ignorant and brainwashed that , as long that everyone is poor I don't have to covet thy neighbors weatlh I guess they are happy, even without toilet paper, and other basic stuff. Socialism...caught up to even the mighty USA."

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
11 upvotes
moacir
By moacir (8 months ago)

I agree with photo perzon

2 upvotes
MarcLee
By MarcLee (8 months ago)

I am having a hard time figuring out which of the two political dimwits trolling this thread is the worst.

20 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (8 months ago)

Does DPR mean Digital Photography Review or Digital Political Review ;-)

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (8 months ago)

Big oligarchy fan, I guess. Hugo Chavez was the best thing ever to happen to Venezuela. Rich pigs and the CIA didn't like him much. When the big money people want revenge, they have no shortage of financial or actual hit men to make it happen, as we see throughout that part of the world, where people actually want to use the country's resources for the benefit of the people instead of international mega corporations.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

Boston Tea Party a$$holeness: we can never get enough of it.

2 upvotes
malabito
By malabito (8 months ago)

Reilly Diefenbach, ignorance is a wonderful thing, I am from Venezuela, and been lucky enough to travel to a few places around the world. Its really something watching kids and adults from USA to Nordic countries preaching Chavez, Fidel, and Che Gevara, so stupid how they find them cool, a fashion statement. .. Just because a government disagrees with USA politics doesn't make it a good one. Will be interesting knowing if you have ever gone to Venezuela to see the reality of it....

0 upvotes
leebee
By leebee (8 months ago)

What a moron

1 upvote
REShultz
By REShultz (8 months ago)

Bobby, you live in Honduras, right? Well, that country is in sadder shape! Most violent in the world. Stricken with poverty and as capitalist as they come. All kinds of governments have problems.

2 upvotes
knize10
By knize10 (8 months ago)

Ah, Evo Morales and his Cuban style ''Revolucion'' only brought tears, misery, envy and poverty to ALL of Bolivia (except Morales, his family and friends in the army and other pinchos (well connected goons). It will still be a slow descent to destruction of what was left of Bolivia.

4 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (8 months ago)

There really are some @ssh0les around here. Nostalgic for the days of Presidente Banzer are we?

4 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

Some people miss the times when South America was USA's backyard.

6 upvotes
Vahab
By Vahab (8 months ago)

I was moved by the verse from the Bible.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

That bird photo.

That single image just implodes all credibility of the whole article.

IMO

.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (8 months ago)

I agree 100%

2 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (8 months ago)

Perhaps what we can't see is the cat sitting in the seat next to the dead birdie.

4 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

http://www.ask.com/question/where-do-birds-go-to-die

2 upvotes
MarcLee
By MarcLee (8 months ago)

Couldn't agree more.

2 upvotes
bronson
By bronson (8 months ago)

If the photographer is going to take artist license by placing a dead bird on the seat, at least do it right and not position it smack dab in the middle.

4 upvotes
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (8 months ago)

Or maybe crop it using thirds...

0 upvotes
Andrew Booth
By Andrew Booth (8 months ago)

Would have been better with 'selective colour'. He should have desaturated the seat and surroundings.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (8 months ago)

+1

0 upvotes
Midwest
By Midwest (8 months ago)

Are we sure it was placed there? Birds often end up in places where they don't belong, and then can't get out again.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

If you liked it, then you should have put a birdie on it
If you liked it, then you should have put a birdie on it
Don't be mad once you see that he want it
If you liked it, then you should have put a birdie on it
Oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh

All the single lens reflex, all the single lens reflex...
Oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh

.

1 upvote
blue skies
By blue skies (8 months ago)

A dying enterprise is a sad thing and the photos convey that. As for the dead bird I thought it was a crumpled leaf. Need to put on my glasses...

0 upvotes
David 247
By David 247 (8 months ago)

I for one enjoy DPR's efforts to bring us some serious photography articles and viewpoints. Been enjoying them, or at least the ones I find time to read. And let's face it, real life isn't always beautiful and nice. But it is real.

30 upvotes
Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (8 months ago)

I agree. The level of ignorance in some of the comments I've read here is quite simply astounding.

1 upvote
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (8 months ago)

Another Cochabamba story, no doubt.

0 upvotes
Ahmet Aydogan
By Ahmet Aydogan (8 months ago)

As a pilot, I am always a little saddened by the sight of machines that were designed to fly after they are finally grounded. The dead bird on the seat may a bit heavy handed, but it still works, too. There is a haunting quality to these photos. Thanks to DP review sharing them. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole book.

6 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

As a bird lover I find it highly offensive that DPReview posted that 2nd photo.

How can they have the audacity to make that image viewable to the public knowing full well that at least 87.6% of "normal" human beings are adamantly against the death of innocent little birdies?

This is nothing short of promoting AVICIDE and I won't stand for it! I demand this post be taken down!

Shame on you Barney Britton for condoning birdie-bashing on a photography website!

7 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (8 months ago)

Swing and a miss.

14 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (8 months ago)

is this sarcasm?

3 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (8 months ago)

Please do stop being a giant wuss. What a joke you are if this is not sarcasm. What do you do? make love to birds and are so upset that things actually DIE?

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

Oops, I forgot. This is a camera site. People have no sense of humor here.

This was a reference "Anthony Karen/KKK" thread that that went off the rails.

Lighten up folks.

13 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (8 months ago)

What are the odds that the bird was placed on the seat by the photographer?

... like: right in the middle of the seat?

.

8 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

100% Arthur "Weegee" Felig style.

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

You guys... Do you live in a dream land where rainbows and puppydogs reign?

A dead bird on a rumpled airline seat is the PERFECT analogy for a failed airline - not to mention the damage to families, communities and economies.

Journalistic ethics would demand that you don't reposition the bird, but some of you make it seem like the bird was personally slalked and bludgened by the vile photographer to spiff up the scene.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
John Siward
By John Siward (8 months ago)

Typical LIBERAL / SOCIALIST response! Look out of your window and the trees are full of hundreds of birds waiting to attack! It is my constitutionally protected right to carry my Kalashnikov Mk. VIII bazooka to protect me and my family from this menace. Why don't you just go and live in Russia, comrade?

4 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

That's a CONSERVATIVE for you. Blaming the birds. They have had to dig through dirt and eat worms because of the repressive anti-avites! They are only reacting to the horrors this world has shown them. They are the down-trodden! BIRD POWER!

2 upvotes
ABM Barry
By ABM Barry (8 months ago)

Oh you sensitive little flower, it'a the birdie from the camera silly!

You don't think they use Real Birdies in cameras"? Honestly, where do you think they could place the "feeder hatch" in compacts! You would also need a poo chute of some description?

87.6% Mmmm accuracy plus! I expect that you are in high demand with poling groups. Islam is about 30% of the world population, ... they don't value life at all, ... so that show's a slight discrepancy in you %

AVICIDE,.... Sadly some of us are too interested in killing each other to even think about a little birdie!

We have feeders on our property; Parrots and a large variety of birds visit daily. We have quite a few visitors and to be honest, in 50 years I have never heard anyone announce that they are Birdie haters! "You were Joking weren't you JD Thomas?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
MarcLee
By MarcLee (8 months ago)

Now I know why I like my comedy from professionals.

3 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (8 months ago)

Your response is funny, in a histrionic way. Unfortunately, the photographic community has too many of its share of politically-correct leftists who have no issue with art being an image of Christ in a jar of urine, but balk at showing what a shambles one of their kind has made of a Latin-American country.

2 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (8 months ago)

Gosh the political drum bashers ARE crawling out of the woodwork today aren't they? And we all know NO airline has ever failed in the US. That's why the flight attendants are 100 years old. .

1 upvote
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (8 months ago)

What are the odds he put the captain right in the middle of the window?

1 upvote
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (8 months ago)

@TDThomas Where did you get the figure 87.6% from? ;-)

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

@Seagull TLR: Like 98.2% of the statistics on camera forums, I made it up. But you know, it's probably correct...

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (8 months ago)

Well, if they do start flights again, I think I'll hold off on a ticket purchase.

As an aside, someone needs to do a similar photo documentary on the Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska. I've only seen it from the ferry, but some have gotten very interesting photographs of the building's interior. Bears are said to inhabit the building in the winter, so that would not be a good time to visit!

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (8 months ago)

How dare DPR do an article about actual photography, rather than photography hardware! (grin)

19 upvotes
SWSF14
By SWSF14 (8 months ago)

We're informed about a very interesting piece of work that involves photography.

Why do some people insist on wasting time trolling when they aren't even interested?

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
12 upvotes
whawha
By whawha (8 months ago)

Very interesting pictures. Not being cats, ducks, flowers or rainbows they wont meet much interest around here, but its excellent photojournalism.

12 upvotes
mandophoto
By mandophoto (8 months ago)

Laughed out loud, couldn't help it. You are right. Still, DPR is trying.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (8 months ago)

Maybe there are none of cats and ducks you mentioned, but...

"Put a bird on it" - Portlandia

0 upvotes
mckracken88
By mckracken88 (8 months ago)

yeah...im not haunted...

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (8 months ago)

I guess some people just won't ever understand photography then.

1 upvote
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (8 months ago)

What self-indulgent nonsense. Why does this deserve to be here?

9 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (8 months ago)

+1

1 upvote
itchhh
By itchhh (8 months ago)

I think you're being a little rough

12 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (8 months ago)

...because DPR has been doing journalistic pieces ...hopefully trying to turn the site into more of an all around photography site and less of a photo gear site. It's called expanding your user base, thus more hits, thus selling ad space for more money, thus making more money ...and hopefully it rolls into a site that puts more into itself and making it a better experience for all of its, expanded, users.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
20 upvotes
Chris Noble
By Chris Noble (8 months ago)

Big Dad Dave: Your post is self-indulgent nonsense. Why does it deserve to be here?

13 upvotes
rb59020
By rb59020 (8 months ago)

It's racist!

4 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

I may need to adjust my sarcasm detector, but I think bigdaddave was joking.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (8 months ago)

self-indulgent, just because you don't understand or know what photography is does not mean everyone else here is as talentless as you.

0 upvotes
justinwonnacott
By justinwonnacott (8 months ago)

He is the most feared art critic here. Incisive, yet constructive too.

0 upvotes
ABM Barry
By ABM Barry (8 months ago)

Why do YOU need to be here seems to be the real question that requires asking? Just like TV, ... If you don't like it , .. CHANGE the channel. The content won't change just for you, ... Dave, ... you really aren't important at all and believe it or not, ... no one is hanging on their breath for your next salable.

0 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (8 months ago)

How is it self-indulgent?
Looks like a nice piece of documentary photography. If you don't like it, or aren't interested, move on, or at least explain your views.

1 upvote
leebee
By leebee (8 months ago)

+1

0 upvotes
Banhmi
By Banhmi (8 months ago)

Definitely racist. Clearly misogynistic. We need to sit down and have a candid conversation about discrimination and sensitivity.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 95