Inspiration: Airports

Okay, so I’m sure you’re wondering, what on earth is inspiring about airports? The usual stuff you get to see is just downright boring, I won’t disagree with you here. There’s nothing more boring and mundane than security, checkin, and finding your way around an airport, especially when security is constantly eyeing your vintage cameras with much skepticism.

Airport buildings tend to be quite ugly, personnel usually isn’t very interesting, waiting for boarding is quite boring, and watching people rush to the door when boarding finally opens is pretty dull.

But it’s a totally different story about what’s happening outside, that’s where it starts to get interesting. I remember my first long layover on my first trip to Sydney. It wasn’t great, but I watched in awe the planes taking off and landing with only a couple of minutes in between. Planes being prepared for lift-off, being loaded off after arrival.


There’s still some magic about flying, if only it is to watch the giant birds getting ready for take-off, or watching clouds and life below pass by when you’re in the air. As you’ll no doubt agree, my friend Ann-Kathrin is the master of airport photos.


Every time I head to an airport I’m looking forward to the part where a photo is in order. Now, Berlin’s airports aren’t exactly great for that, but there’ll always be an airport waiting on the other end of the flight.


I definitely enjoy looking out on the runway, watching the big planes, and taking pictures of them. If you’re lucky you even get a sunrise or a sunset for free, of course the former only if you’re a fan of getting up really early. Which I’m not, by the way. Brace yourself, this shot’s a digital.

frankfurt airport, 9:30 pm

Of course getting to an airport means you have to fly somewhere, but it even works nice when you’re picking up someone. Airports in Berlin have visitor decks, Tegel even has one where you can walk around on the roof of the whole building, watching the big birds from above. Well worth the money, but not exactly always driving out to the airport obviously. Next time you’re picking someone up, look out for a deck where you can take your camera for a spin.


Obviously in-flight inspiration is a whole different story, and we’ll get to that shortly. For me, there’s always some fun in an airport, despite of everything that’s boring about them. There’s always a certain fascination about flying, even when you’re still on the ground having just stepped off a plane or waiting to enter one. That fascination is the one I still like capturing every time, even if it’s just myself brushing my teeth.

damn hell brushing my teeth in a singapore airport bathroom


3 thoughts on “Inspiration: Airports

  1. The one thing I do like about airport buildings is their aesthetics. When you’re lucky some of that 70’s grandeur remains and it will mingle nicely with the prospective glamour of travelling in style.
    In my opinion Gary Winogrands airport photos really display that side of airports.

    Sadly, in the times of budget airlines and post 9/11 security checks not much of that remains. Then again, I couldn’t travel as much as I do without budget airlines!

    Thanks for the props, Matt! 🙂

  2. Wow, pics look beautiful. The first two remind me of beautiful film photos from old travel books. 🙂 and loove the Polaroid. Someday I’ll get one of those hehe. You are developing an amazing eye for taking photos.

  3. you must frequent some fairly posh airport restrooms if they have plants in them!
    i recently got a new job in the UK so my weekly commute is from belfast to newcastle-upon-tyne by air.
    there is a lot of magic involved…i must agree.
    i love the colours in the first one (how the red pops!!) but my complete favourite is no 4! x

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