Flights of fancy

A photography exhibition documenting an airline may not sound too unusual.

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

But when the airline is one of the world’s oldest, and is now staffed solely by a team of 180 voluntary, unpaid staff, the pictures take on a rather more interesting quality.

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

Photographer Nick Ballon’s new show at London’s KK Outlet gallery documents Bolivia’s Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (LAB) airline, which now only has one operational plane from a grounded fleet of aircrafts.

The remaining plane, Ezekiel 36:36, gives the show and the accompanying book its name, though the craft was renamed after it narrowly escaped a serious accident.

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

The book, which was designed an art directed by Studio Thomson, contains an extra booklet with images from the better days of the airline.

Lloyd Aereo Boliviano was founded in 1925, but was since blighted with a series of misfortunes. It was privatised in 1994, and from then on began to crumble under ‘mismanagement and corruption’, according to KK Outlet.

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

The project is an extension of Ballon’s fascination with Bolivia, stemming from his half-Bolivian heritage. Though he studied in England, much of the photographer’s work examines undocumented parts of Bolivian history.

For the LAB work, Ballon spent six months recording the current state of the airline, discovering its present workings and learning about its history.

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

‘The story of LAB is in many ways the story of Bolivia and its people, resigned to look back at past glory and grandeur which is at once half-imagined and half-remembered’, says Ballon.

‘It is the story of a people perpetually looking towards a promised future which never seems to arrive. Like a phoenix, they desperately need to rise up from the ashes.’

Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon
Ezekiel 36:36, Nick Ballon

 Nick Ballon, Ezekiel 36:36 runs from 2 – 31August at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, London N1

Latest articles