An abandoned airport serves as a perfect backdrop for a pinup photo shoot.
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Abandoned Airport Pinup Shoot

An abandoned airport serves as a perfect backdrop for a pinup photo shoot.

All systems “go” for my abandoned airport pinup shoot with Amanda. This was a photo session 6 months in the making. That’s right, 6 months to get this operation off the ground. 

Our abandoned airport, Gila River Memorial is not the easiest airport to set foot on. I had seen some images from it a few years back but could never figure out where it was located. Given all of its secrecy only made me want to shoot there more. After some failed research I had kind of given up on the idea until last fall. By random chance I stumbled upon some images from there that had listed the name of the airport. With that information I began planning my pinup shoot.

Abandoned Airport Pinup Shoot in the Arizona Desert

My searching ended with a few contact names of people who were overseeing the airport. It is owned by the Gila River Native Americans. After several phone calls I finally reached the person who could help me. I knew some photographers were sneaking onto the property without permission to get their shots. My goal was to “not be that photographer that makes everyone else look bad”. Inquiring for a permit proved to be a long affair. I requested permission to shoot in December. It wasn’t until April that I was approved to shoot. Fortunately my permit was free of charge (perhaps a token of appreciation for my patience, but who knows). I’ve heard now that the fee is around $200 for a few hours.

Our day arrived and Amanda met me outside the airport about an hour before sunset. We followed our escort out to the airport grounds to begin our session. There were still a few old airplanes in various states of disrepair that made for amazing backdrops. As I got out of my truck and surveyed the area my heart sang. This was going to be a fun shoot to rock! Amanda and I made our way to the first plane and started shooting. As the day unfolded we made our way around all the planes. Sunset approached with some awesome golden light to cap off our abandoned airport pinup shoot. What a day!

Below are some of my favorite images from the shoot.

Model: Amanda Adame, her Facebook page

Pinup shoot at an abandoned airport

Pinup model posing on an old airplane

Pinup model at an abandoned airport

Pinup model standing inside the cockpit of an old airplane

Pinup model posing near an aircraft engine

Pinup model posing with an old airplane

Abandoned airplane and model posing

Pinup model posing at an abandoned airfield


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  1. Hi! I am a film student in Arizona an recently looked at your Gila River Memorial photoshoot! Amazing Shots! I was wondering who you contacted to get your permit. Your help is MUCH APPRECIATED!

    1. Hi Tatum. It is my understanding that the tribe is no longer offering permits. It is unfortunate as the abandoned airplanes were a fun place to shoot.

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