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Feature Story

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Boeing/Marian Lockhart

Boeing photographer Ed Turner travelled the world to chronicle every inch of the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner.

Capturing the birth of the Dreamliner

For Ed Turner, chronicling the creation of the 787 Dreamliner was a dream job.

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Boeing/Ed Turner

Boeing photographer captured this majestic shot of the 787 Dreamliner gliding along the Oregon coast in the western United States.

The veteran Boeing photographer embarked on a two-year odyssey to document every inch of the revolutionary airplane. The result is a 300-page coffee-table book titled, appropriately, The Birth of the Dreamliner. Inside, breathtaking photos show off the airplane as never before, with its inner workings often resembling modern art as much as the intriguing parts of working machinery.

"I've been anywhere you can think of with that airplane," Turner said, leafing through the book. "I've flown in it, I've flown beside it, I've rolled over the top of it."

A shy and soft-spoken man whose father worked for decades at Boeing, Turner is adept at telling powerful and compelling stories through his keen eyes. Over the course of thirty two years at Boeing, Turner countless times has frozen the pregnant moment in time and space and composed portraits on canvasses of light and shadow.

"The airplane actually moves differently, which is neat to see when it is flying." Ed Turner, Boeing photographer

"I've always just been very visual and I just like the ability to look and create and just kind of distill something down to a simple form. And make it interesting," Turner said of his craft and his art.

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Boeing/Deborah Feldman

Turner says he enjoys being able to distill something down to a simple form and make it interesting.

"It started off with film, went to digital, and all that stuff. At least I started with jets... it wasn't prop planes!" Turner said half-jokingly.

When a publisher approached Boeing about publishing a coffee-table book about the 787 airplane, Boeing turned to Turner for advice, then to shoot it.

Turner travelled to nearly every Dreamliner factory and supplier in the world, visiting some of the far-flung places the airplane will one day connect: South Korea; Japan; Australia; Italy; England; Chicago, Illinois; Everett, Washington; Wichita, Kansas; Charleston, South Carolina, and so on.

He saw, heard and felt employee pride in the 787 that transcended language barriers. "They seemed all to care about the product; they all wanted to do well. They all were very proud of what they were doing," Turner said.

"I've always just been very visual and I just like the ability to look and create ..." Ed Turner, Boeing photographer

Turner's keen awareness as a photographer found, too, that the Dreamliner appeals to the senses in a way unlike anything that's soared through the skies before.

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Boeing/Ed Turner

This photo from "The Birth of the Dreamliner" shows 787 wings inside Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' facility in Nagoya, Japan.

"The airplane actually moves differently, which is neat to see when it is flying," said Turner. "The wings just really curve and it's just elegant looking."

The glossy, hardcover The Birth of the Dreamliner sells for $49. While eager for others to enjoy his handiwork, Turner is as energized about one day soon flying on the 787 as a passenger.

"I'm really excited to see it in service, because I'm really excited to fly on it. International flights on this thing will be amazing!"