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ESO bureau de recherches : Christian Block


ESO bureau de recherches in Los Angeles presents an exhibition of photographs by Christian Block, pilot and photographer.
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I was born in Bonn in 1965. I trained as a pilot in Cologne and carried out long-distance flights as captain of a Boeing 747.
I have been practicing photography since 2003.

As a pilot I fly around the world, all continents, over and past almost all mountains on this planet. I process my experiences in large-format photography. My creation of my works starts in and outside the dynamic high-tech environment of the cockpit. The display of vital gauges and many switches is a result of ergonomics, our perceptiveness, and our capacity to process information. The resulting aesthetics are clear and uncompromising. Without this technology, flying in clouds or darkness is not possible.

From the interpretation of numbers and displays we generate a synthetic, three-dimensional image into which we fly real, with 450 tons of weight and high speed. Nature and technology release my motifs from their world and I take it and create my world as I want it.

In dreams we find ourselves unable to breathe, unable to move a finger, weighing tons, in a maelstrom of experiences, unable to act.

But we also find ourselves under water, unable to breathe without distress, weightless, floating, able to fly, free of burden.

Runway 25 L in Hong Kong, is about 4 kilometers long and studded with lights. The lights of the center line have a distance of 15 meters, those of the sides 60. In weather conditions where fog rolls across the runway, the lights are projected symmetrically into the layer of fog above. Combined with the powerful spotlights in the wings of the aircraft, this creates a tunnel into which we are literally sucked in, accelerating faster and faster. Up to the takeoff abort speed, the aircraft, with remaining runway can still be brought to a safe stop, beyond that the takeoff can no longer be aborted:


The texture of the fog seemingly impenetrable but also like gauze, transparent, disconnects us from the outside world. In a dream, a whole life is told in one second.

In reality, about 80 seconds after the start of the take off, we are carried out of the picture on the air, a short time later penetrate the mostly flat layer of fog and rise into the morning sky.

The depth of the image is about 3800 meters from the beginning of the runway and seems infinite. Somewhere in between, the dreams take off, at different speeds, with different destinations. Up to a moment, the decision to stop is up to each one of us. Beyond that we can take in the dream, consciously no more influence, in the airplane we are in the air.

The journey begins.

Experiences, wishes, dreams are the guides in our subconscious and the program is not controlled by us. We steer the airplane to another continent.


Christian Block


Thanks to Gene Lemuel at the origin of this encounter.

Christian Block
until November 14th, 2023
ESO bureau de recherches
4855 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles CA 90029

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