A retired WWII pilot photographs ‘the saga of fallen flesh’

Anne Noggle documents herself and other aging women with respect and a touch of wry humor.


 

Anne Noggle was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1922. In her mid-teens, she saw the legendary aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and persuaded her mother to let her take flying classes. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, during World War II and achieved the rank of captain. After the war, she turned to odd jobs, working as a flight instructor, aerial circus performer and crop duster. At 38, suffering from emphysema, she retired from flying and studied photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Flight of Spirit: The Photographs of Anne Noggle collects 82 of her remarkable black-and-white images, most of them portraits of aging women. She often turned the camera lens on herself, documenting what she called “the saga of fallen flesh” in the female face and body with respect and a touch of wry humor. Her photographs express the conflicts of aging in a beautiful, bold and honest way. 

Flight of Spirit: The Photographs of Anne Noggle,
By Martha A. Strawn, ed.
160 pages, hardcover: $45
Museum of New Mexico Press, 2019