September 10, 2009 Library of Congress Acquires Nicholas Price Photographs of U.S. Air Force

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639; Grace Price (352) 291-9267
Public Contact: Helena Zinkham (202) 707-2922

Master fine-art photographer Nicholas A. Price spent 18 months, from 2005 to 2007, capturing images of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force to tell the story of their pride and dedication, stamina and service. Price took more than 8,000 photographs and painstakingly selected 60 to become the touring exhibition “Cleared Hot! An Exclusive and Personal Photographic Journey into the U.S. Air Force.”

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Air Force, The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, displayed the exhibition for six months, starting in October 2007.

The Library of Congress has acquired these 60 large-format, black-and-white photographs, which are available for viewing by researchers in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.

“The 60 photographs create a valuable visual story for understanding the hard work and deep commitment of today’s military,” said Helena Zinkham, acting chief of the Prints and Photographs Division. “This compelling photographic essay, created to honor the men and women of the Air Force, enriches the Library’s collections by providing a contemporary counterpart to our historic resources.”

Price’s photographs will fill a gap in the Library’s visual collections related to the history of military aviation. The Library has significant coverage of the early decades through photographs from the papers of the Wright Brothers, Billy Mitchell, Hap Arnold and Curtis LeMay. “The ‘Cleared Hot!’ project offers researchers a welcome opportunity to compare the early years with a visual profile from 2005-2007,” said Zinkham.

The U.S. Air Force defines the term “Cleared Hot!” as authorization to engage a target or permission to complete an action or mission.

As a civilian, Price was granted unprecedented access and complete artistic license to film every corner of some of the largest military installations in the country. He focused primarily on two U.S. Air Force bases in Nevada—Nellis in North Las Vegas, home to more squadrons than any other Air Force base, and Creech in Indian Springs. At Creech, Price had access to the training facilities of the ground-combat forces, the largest flight-testing range in the country, and the testing and exercising of the very latest equipment and technology in the sectors of flight, combat, intelligence, mission support and reconnaissance.

Price—who can trace his family military history back to the 11th century in England, including participation in the 1890s British campaign in Afghanistan and in World Wars I and II—wanted to show the face of the modern-day U.S. Air Force, especially its diversity and its “unsung heroes, the men and women who do what no one hears about.”

Price said, “Without the men and women who secure the base, provide ground-combat forces, embark on new technologies, take care of the military family and equipment, the wonders of flight and air supremacy would not be possible.” Price’s photos also depict the nation’s most demanding aerial combat exercise, Red Flag, and offer a look into the world of unmanned air vehicles and the men and women who operate this new form of warfare.

Price shot the entire project using two 35mm professional film cameras and a range of black-and-white film. He developed and printed every photograph by hand. Price said black-and-white film is his medium of choice, because it “cleans up the background and allows the viewer to focus on the real subject.”

Originally from England, Price lives and works in the United States. He is an international and acclaimed master fine-art photographer, sculptor and painter. Price is also known for creating contemporary and environmentally sensitive sculptures with recycled or claimed materials. For more information on Price, visit

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds approximately 14 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich fund of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information, visit


PR 09-163
ISSN 0731-3527