Roz Doherty’s fictional images take us back to a time when air piracy was a very common occurrence.

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After September 11, airport security has accustomed us to long and meticulous checks and to cockpits well protected by armored doors. But there was a time when the doors were left open, and the kids could meet the pilots. Roz Doherty tells us about a different and more dangerous type of cockpit visitor. Playing with still photography and the composite portrait, the author wonders why many would decide to take an entire plane hostage.

Between 1968 and 1972, air piracy was surprisingly common in America, with more than 130 planes hijacked during that time. Occurring as frequently as once a week, the hijackers sought political asylum in Cuba or demanded money to resolve their often desperate situation. Yet it remains a largely misunderstood and forgotten period of history.

The Vietnam War had proved massively unpopular, 1960s idealism was a thing of the past, and public hysteria was stoked by the media. All the while, politics was seen as incapable of ending the epidemic of hijackings, mingled with it was the psychology of those disenchanted and desperate men who felt that their situation was such that the only solution was seen as the hijacking of a commercial aircraft. Output.

Occupying a hybrid documentary space between image, information and fiction, the work explores how we reimagine events with limited visual cues to support the lyrical responses we create.

words and pictures of Roz Doherty

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Roz Doherty (b. 1983) is a British photographer, whose work focuses on the intersection of myth, fiction and truth. She graduated from Bradford College with a BA (Hons) in Photography in 2019 and recently obtained an MFA in Photography from Belfast School of Art, University of Ulster. Follow her on instagram and PhMuseum.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a handpicked selection of relevant projects from our community by curators at the PhMuseum.


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