Photographer's Nellis-Creech pictures now in Library of Congress

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
A desire to show the non-flying side of the Air Force motivated a British photographer, and now his 60-photo "Cleared Hot!" exhibition is part of the Library of Congress.

"I met a lot of Air Force people and the first question they're asked is, 'What type of plane do you fly?'" Nicholas Price said. "I wanted to show the faces of men and women who make the planes take flight."

Library of Congress officials accepted Mr. Price's exhibition into its Prints and Photographs collection Oct. 6. They will be available at

Mr. Price said he feels he's contributed to preserving and documenting American aviation history with his photographs.

"I felt that I managed to capture people permanently on film," said the photographer who eschewed the digital format. "With the film I'd kept these people forever, and now they're moving into the library."

He said it was important to recognize the Airmen in his photographs for history's sake by having the collection in the Library of Congress.

"I'm pleased I was able to take the people I wanted to recognize to the Library of Congress," said Mr. Price of the Airmen in his pictures. "They are being pulled into American history by me."

Mr. Price spent 18 months from 2005 to 2007 shooting pictures of Airmen at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases in Nevada. He chose those two bases because of the training conducted there and the similarity to the desert environs of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler, Air Force vice chief of staff and a veteran of more than 3,900 hours in the T-38 Talon, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, attended the presentation. He said the term "cleared hot" is part of a distinctive aviation language. Whether from a fighter, a bomber or unmanned aircraft system, when pilots hear those words they're authorized to arm hot and to employ ordnance.

General Chandler said the presentation captures the diversity of the Air Force from the pilots to Airmen in support roles. "This particular display showcases the Air Force in action but it does it from a very important perspective," General Chandler said, "and that's of the men and women of the United States Air Force."

Two members of Nevada's congressional delegation, Sen. John Ensign and Rep. Shelley Berkley, also attended the event.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. It acquires approximately 10,000 new items every day and maintains 142 million items on 650 miles of shelves, said Robert Patrick, the Veterans History Project director. "Today is a special day. We are recognizing one of the 10,000 that we are receiving. It is a collection that we think will be very special to the library. "

Mr. Patrick said the story Mr. Price visualizes in his photographs is an important story to tell.

"It's the story of the selfless, voluntary dedicated service of the brave men and women of the United States Air Force," Mr. Patrick said.

"The 'Cleared Hot!' Project ... portrays both the dedication and the diversity of men and women serving in today's United States Air Force," Mr. Patrick said. "The striking compositions rely on daily air force activities on the ground, to make us look twice and to appreciate all that they convey."