Exhibition Review: Encountering the Astronomical Sublime - Vintage NASA Photographs 1961-1980
Breese Little Gallery is exhibiting a unique series of historical prints from NASA. The exhibition is entitled ‘Encountering the Astronomical Sublime - Vintage NASA Photographs 1961-1980’ and will be on display between 19 September - 25 October.
As the curators maintain, the collection addresses the ‘sublime’ in historic NASA photography:
the sublime is perceived in the presence of power, awe and scale, and felt in the sensation of helplessness at the realisation of our own insignificance. And yet it entails a sense of empowerment as we measure, map, quantify and record, seeking to understand the mysteries of the solar system and the universe through science, logic and technology.
The exhibition is impressive through the nature of the prints on display, which are the original ones printed by NASA, but mostly through the subjects depicted in these photographs, showing rather uncommon sights, from elsewhere but this world. The collection features about 80 photographic works, captured by the first astronaut photographers, rovers and satellites, within the Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, Gemini, Apollo, Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Skylab missions.
Below are some of the prints exhibited:
The near-full Earth from 36,000 miles, centred on North America
Apollo 10, May 1969
A view of Earth from 36,000 nautical miles away as photographed from the Apollo 10 spacecraft during its trans- lunar journey toward the Moon. While the Yucatan Peninsula is obscured by clouds, nearly all of Mexico north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec can be clearly delineated. The Gulf of California and Baja California and the San Joaquin Valley can be easily identified. Also, the delta of the Rio Grande River and the Texas coast are visible.
Central Florida, Cape Kennedy at centre left
Gemini 11, September 1966
The Command and Service Modules docking with the Lunar Module
Apollo 17, December 1972
An excellent view of the Apollo 17 Command and Service Modules (CSM) photographed from the Lunar Module (LM) "Challenger" during rendezvous and docking manoeuvres in lunar orbit. The LM ascent stage, with astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt aboard, had just returned from the Taurus-Littrow landing site on the lunar surface. Astronaut Ronald E. Evans remained with the CSM in lunar orbit. A portion of the LM is on the right.
Ed White walking in space (EVA)
Gemini 4, June 1965
Astronaut Edward H. White II, pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 (GT-4) spaceflight, floats in the zero-gravity of space during the third revolution of the GT-4 spacecraft. White wears a specially designed spacesuit. His face is shaded by a gold-plated visor to protect him from unfiltered rays of the sun. In his right hand he carries a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU) that gives him control over his movements in space. White also wears an emergency oxygen chest pack; and he carries a camera mounted on the HHSMU for taking pictures of the sky, Earth and the GT-4 spacecraft. He is secured to the spacecraft by a 25-feet umbilical line and a 23-feet tether line. Both lines are wrapped together in gold tape to form one cord.
Astronaut James A. McDivitt, command pilot, remained inside the spacecraft during the extravehicular activity (EVA).
Russell Schweickart tests the new Apollo spacesuit
Apollo 9, March 1969
James Irwin at the Lunar Rover by the Lunar Module
Apollo 15, July 1971
Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, works at the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during the first Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site. The Lunar Module (LM) "Falcon" is on the left.
Source: Breese Little