Mark Power

Airbus A 380

What a piece of luck to be able to follow an enormous industrial adventure from A to Z. And what luck that it was achieved by a photographer who knew how to calculate the perfect distance, showing the enormity, the human and technological adventure, the infrastructures, and the countless details.
In order to build the Airbus A 380, it seems that everything had to be invented from scratch: the buildings, the means of transport, the equipment, right down to the launching events in a exceptional scale.
And this is where the talent of the photographer comes in. How to convey the feeling of such enormity without compromising creativity. How to "make a picture" when everything is already so spectacular.
Step by step, three years' work is revealed. Mark Power, e member of Magnum Photos, tells an industrial fairy tale.

Saint Nazaire. France, March 2004


Bordeaux, France, March 2004

Saint Nazaire, France, March 2004

Toulouse, France, July 2003

Born in 1959.
Lives and works in Brighton.


My work for Airbus began in 2003, when I was invited to photograph the construction of the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse. Here, eventually, the largest passenger plane ever built would be pieced together.
My commission soon extended to visiting many of the factories scattered throughout Europe where various parts of the A 380 were being built. I then followed their transportation to Toulouse, by ship, barge and road.
I was in Toulouse again to witness the maiden flight in April 2005, followed by its appearance at airshows in Paris and Dubai. My work finally ended in 2006 when I photographed the Cold Test in Arctic Canada, before the A 380 finally went into commercial service in October 2007, with Singapore Airlines. To date, Airbus have received 262 orders for their super-jumbo.
With all the long-term projects in the corporate sector I undertake, I try to negotiate a position where I'm free to photograph whatever I choose. Airbus were no exception, and at no point did they tell me what I should point my camera at. By the same token they didn't refuse permission to my showing any pictures either. For this openness they are to be commended, and I much appreciate their collaboration in this work.
I plan to publish a book of the A 380 pictures within a year.

Mark Power

© Mark Power/Magnum Photos