The beauty of slides - Belgian Air Force
As soon as photography became accessible to the general public, photos were already taken of airplanes at airshows, military exercises and other events in which aviation played an important role. Unlike today, where everyone with digital cameras takes thousands of photos, in the 60s, 70s and 80s a lot of pictures were taken with photo slides or negatives.
Because many beautiful photos of military aircraft were taken with slides for decades, these photos never got the attention they deserved. That is why I started a project at the end of 2020 to digitize as many old slides as possible so everyone can admire them again in the age of computers and social media. For my first project I went looking for old slides of aircraft of the Belgian Air Force as Belgium has a very rich history when it comes to military aviation and airshows.
Photo slides, technically known as reversal films, are a type of photographic film that produce a positive image on a transparent base. Slide film is processed to form diapositives or transparencies, rather than prints or negatives. A photo slide is a specially mounted transparency, designed for projection onto a wall or screen. This makes it ideal for viewing photos at a larger scale and in a group setting. The 35mm is the most common type of slide and is typically housed in a cardboard or plastic mount to facilitate projection. This type of slide film was first introduced in the early 30s but it took until the 1960s for it to gain prominence. After I received a large collection of slides from the late Belgian aviation fanatic René Geivaerts, I bought a semi-professional scanning device and started digitizing these old slides. After scanning these slides, I gave the digital files a facelift in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop so that they are ready for their new digital life.
After my first digitization project, I searched the internet for more slides of military aircraft of the Belgian Air Force. To my surprise, numerous collections of slides of military aircraft were for sale or even offered for free via various websites. All aircraft and helicopters of the Belgian Air Force shown here are no longer in use today. The slides were taken at air shows, open days and military exercises in Belgium and abroad in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.