For All Mankind: Vintage NASA Photographs 1963 – 1980
Public Talk: Tuesday 15 May 2018
15 May 2018 : A special presentation by distant galaxies and quasar expert Dr Marek Kukula from The Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG).
Exhibition Dates: 24th April – 17 June 2018
This exhibition comprises an overview of space exploration from 1963 to 1980, providing a comprehensive selection of twenty-four rare vintage NASA photographs.
The achievements of NASA and the Apollo programme languished in the popular imagination from the end of the 1970s until the early 2000s, neglected in the wake of previous euphoria. The exploration of Mars, space tourism, the commercial satellite market and the successes of recent probes including Rosetta, Juno, Cassini and New Horizons clearly demonstrate that space exploration is once again at the very forefront of public and, increasingly, private agendas.
The vintage photographs exhibited, many of which retain original NASA catalogue stamps on the reverse, were taken by the men, women and machines of NASA over a period of nearly twenty years. They include photographs from the Gemini 4, 5 and 7 missions; Apollo 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17; and the Mercury-Atlas and Voyager missions. They also include historic and iconic images such as Ed White’s spacewalk, the first completed by an American astronaut, the Apollo 8 ‘Earthrise’ and the era-defining Apollo 11 ‘Visor’ photograph taken of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong.
Vintage NASA prints, processed by NASA’s photographic laboratories shortly after the date of the scene depicted. As contemporary, original prints of pictures taken by astronaut-photographers such as Neil Armstrong, they are very rare and difficult to find, especially in good condition. Generally speaking, vintage NASA photographs were printed on fibre-based photographic paper, 20 x 25 cm (8 x 10 in). Most are printed on “A Kodak Paper”, a watermark which changed in 1972. Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are glossy prints on paper.
NASA produced master duplicates of all negatives after each mission, while the originals were locked away in cold store. From the master duplicates photographs were printed and distributed for the use of NASA’s own scientists and public relations department.