Photog Snaps Pictures of Secret Military Bases Using Astronomy Telescopes

New York-based photographer Trevor Paglen‘s photos blur the lines between a number of fields, including art, science, and journalism. For his project Limit Telephotography, Paglen used powerful telescopes designed for astrophotography in order to see things that people aren’t supposed to: classified military bases.

Paglen writes,

A number of classified military bases and installations are located in some of the remotest parts of the United States, hidden deep in western deserts and buffered by dozens of miles of restricted land. Many of these sites are so remote, in fact, that there is nowhere on Earth where a civilian might be able to see them with an unaided eye. In order to produce images of these remote and hidden landscapes, therefore, some unorthodox viewing and imaging techniques are required.

Limit-telephotography involves photographing landscapes that cannot be seen with the unaided eye. The technique employs high powered telescopes whose focal lengths range between 1300mm and 7000mm. At this level of magnification, hidden aspects of the landscape become apparent.

Paglen says that his technique is actually more difficult than photographing distant space objects, due to the fact that so much more atmosphere in the way when telescopes are pointed across the landscape. Snap a photo of Jupiter, and there’s only “five miles of thick, breathable atmosphere” clouding the shot; for his subjects, there’s upwards of forty.

You can see more of Paglen’s work over on his website or through his gallery, Metro Pictures.

Limit Telephotography by Trevor Paglen (via The New Yorker via The Click)

Image credits: Photographs by Trevor Paglen

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Comment deleted by the Department of Homeland Security.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    has this guy been arrested yet?

  • Allan Schroeder

    and photographers wonder why they get hassled…

  • brandon

    this is not a wise thing to do. what’s he going to gain from this? nice prints? no, i know, prison. what a jackass.

  • Spencer Benedict

    Try that in Russia….

  • madmax

    Nothing to be seen in these pics… what´s the point? North Koreans don´t pay for this garbage, they take far better photographs from space.

  • Oskar

    There is also an woman artist photographer that does the same thing for quite a long time. Unfortunately I could not remember her name and I could not find anything on Google. If any of you know her please point me to a site or tell me her name.

  • Mike

    In Russia, secret military bases use astronomy telescopes to snap pictures of YOU.

  • Marc

    This reminds me of a British comedian/political activist called Mark Thomas who found out that a “secret” NSA surveillance installation at RAF Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England had no flight restrictions in it’s airspace, so he set up a company that ran hot air balloon tours over it.

  • 4324234

    great pictures… / ironie off

  • Guest

    in solviet russia, secret military base uses telescope to photograph you…………..oh wait, that’s probably true

  • 11

    yeah.. we don’t even know the ground truth.. and on the artist’s site there are drone pictures with sky background.. and the drone is like 2pixel size.

  • A


  • Sr71

    In Soviet Russia, road forks YOU.

  • josh

    in soviet russia, law breaks YOU.

  • josh

    yes, a professional photographer is not as smart as a teenager with an iphone

  • josh

    journalist shield act, he cant be arested. if he had gone up to the fence maybe he could have been told to go away but now that the pics are taken the government cant “legally” do anything. no matter how you spin it i cant help thinking russian spy…

  • Neoracer Xox

    Terrorist. Time to ban telescopes