In the mid-1970s Eduard “Billy” Meier produced a series of photographs allegedly documenting spacecrafts (or “beamships'' as he called them) helmed by an alien species called the Plejaren, who came to earth from various planets in the Pleiades constellation. According to Meier, the extraterrestrials gave him permission to photograph and film their beamships so that he could produce evidence of their visitations from beyond the stars. These images were published in a 1979 book by fellow UFO-ologist and publisher Wendelle Stevens entitled “UFO Contact from the Pleiades (VOL. 1).”
According to a 1997 interview with Meier’s ex-wife Kalliope, Meier crafted his spaceship models out of trash can lids, carpet tacks and other household objects. One can imagine Meier alone is a Swiss field, painstakingly perfecting his deceptions so that, if successful, they leave no trace of the artist’s hand.
Like so much of the medium, UFO photography plays off the assumption that the camera is by nature a truth-teller. One of Meier’s most iconic images was utilized as a poster which hung on the office wall of F.B.I. agent Fox Mulder on the TV show, “The X-Files.” The slogan, which appeared alongside Meier’s photo, is something we tell ourselves, in one way or another, each time we choose to engage with photography: “I want to believe.”