In June 2015, the Chinese Embassy in Germany held an aerial photo exhibition under the title of “Fly Over China.” Most of the photos were taken by Wulf-Diether Graf zu Castell-Rüdenhausen, a former Lufthansa Airline pilot, who worked in China from 1933 to 1936. The photos recorded nature scenery, unique landscape, ethnic culture, and historical relics. In 1938, Castell published a selection of his photographs in a book entitle Chinaflug (China Flight).
Castell was born in 1905 to a respected family in Berlin. He had showed interest in China since a young age, and visiting the Far East had been his dream. In 1926, the 21-year old Castell obtained his pilot certificate and flew for with Lufthansa in 1930. In 1933, Castell was assigned to China, which fulfilled his lifelong dream.
During his time in China, Castell took a series of aerial photographs from the left-side window of his airplane with a Lycra 2 Series Camera. In August 1936, Castell returned to Germany, and sorted out the photos for the publication of his book.
On the last page of the book, Castell wrote a memorandum:
“Since the day I arrived in China till now, the vast land has evolved huge changes. It is hard to imagine what turmoil will transform this land herefrom. I believe that our effort for Chinese aviation will not be in vain. In the near or longer future, its influence of our effort on this ancient and huge country will gradually be revealed.”
Translated by Jean Chen.