Risks and challenges
The primary risks and challenges associated with this project relate to the age of the pilots. Many of them are in their late 80s and early 90s and they will not be with us much longer.
To deal with this I propose the following:
1. project manage the process of photographing and interviewing pilots so as to do the largest number possible in the little time available.
2. Consider recruiting other photographers to shoot old pilots according to my style and brief. For example, I worked with Mike Schoenholtz to shoot most of America's surviving WWII fighter aces. However, there are potential quality issues here - as explained in the next paragraph - it is very difficult to find photographers who have the gravitas, skill and tact to get the right kind of images.
The age of the pilots requires a great deal of tact and sensitivity and this is a constraining factor in terms of who can photograph and interview them. So far I have done all the interviews and anticipate this will be the case with other pilots exposed to the project.
Not just anyone can do the photography. They must have the creative and technical ability to execute the photography in a professional manner, often in cramped and difficult circumstances, and they need to be sensitive to the needs of their subjects, who may become tired and frustrated easily. This is especially the case with former high ranking officers like colonels and generals.
I am now an "old hand" at doing all this and I understand the subject so I can have meaningful conversations with old pilots. This has proved useful in establishing a rapport with them.
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The pilots' families may create problems with the usage of the photos. This problem is managed by getting the pilots to sign model release forms.