An analytical model of the synthetic aperture radar system is outlined. This model describes the radar image as a spatial two-dimensional bandpass filtering of the radar scene reflectivity density. The offset of the passband along the range frequency axis determines the major wavelength and geometrical properties of the simulated radar image. Through the use of a Fourier optical system, the photographs of radar target models and an aerial scene were bandpass filtered. The resulting images exhibit the characteristics of radar imagery, including texture (fading) and image dependence on object orientation. Use of the model and optical processing to simulate radar imagery from aerial photographs is discussed.