Few people have had a front row seat, witnessing the amazing history of our sport. Far fewer have documented it by capturing the true beauty of skydiving on film for over five decades. Mike McGowan is one of those very few.
When we were younger many of us thought we could jump forever. But the sport was a lot less forgiving in the 60s than it is now. Making thousands of jumps with round parachutes and cameras on your head that weighed 20 lbs is pretty hard on the body. At 71, Mike has decided it’s time to retire.
For the last 54 years Mike has been an integral part of our sport, a sport he truly loves. He was there taking pictures as round parachutes became squares and squares became high performance flying machines, as canopy collisions became CRW, as world record formations went from 100 to 300, as static line evolved into tandem and AFF and as new disciplines, unimaginable in the 70s like freeflying and wingsuit flying took form. His pictures have been enjoyed in magazines around the world and literally thousands of skydivers’ living room walls.
Fortunately for anyone who has ever jumped out of an airplane, and possibly even more so for those who haven’t jumped yet, Mike is releasing a new book entitled “Selections from Michael McGowan”.
Most of us can remember a time, before we had ever felt a rig on our backs, when we saw an amazing picture of skydivers flying in the air. They blended in with the sharp blue sky, powerful clouds and glorious sunrays as if they truly belonged there as much as a hawk soaring. The picture touched us so deeply we felt like we were able to experience human flight just by imagining, fantasizing that it was actually us in it. Those are the kinds of photos Mike McGowan is known for. And that picture that first drew you to the sport was very possibly one of his.
Michael is more than just a photographer. He doesn’t merely capture the picture. He creates the picture. Mike has put his heart, soul and passion into every picture he’s taken, and you can see it in his work. Whether it was World Records, students, stunts or boogie loads of every discipline Mike brought the best out of everyone in front of his cameras. In his photos you can see and feel the energy and emotion of the skydivers being filmed as well as that of Mike himself. It’s truly magical.
The biggest challenge for Mike on this book was picking through his amazing library of work to choose the photos he most wants to share. There are literally thousands. I know this for a fact because I remember spending hours with him in his studio looking at them, holding them and appreciating the amazing contribution this artist has made. A contribution to the history, artistry, development and future of the sport we love. A contribution which will be appreciated through his new book by both veterans and generations of new skydivers for years to come.
You can order the book at: selectionsthebook.com