Favorite Photographs 2016 #9, NASA, “John Glenn on Friendship Seven in Orbit, 1962”

Figure 1 - John Glenn in orbit on the Friendship 7 Feb. 20, 1962. photographed automatic sequence motion picture camera. NASA Public domain. during

Figure 1 – John Glenn in orbit on the Friendship 7 Feb. 20, 1962. photographed automatic sequence motion picture camera. NASA Public domain.

I was searching through the NASA photograph archives looking for a picture that would commemorate John Glenn’s Friendship 7 flight on Feb. 20, 1962. What struck me the most was how many pictures there were of people. Yes there were planets and galaxies, but so many people. While NASA gives us some of the most stunningly profound images of space it all ultimately comes back to people. NASA and the exploration of space are human endeavors.

As a result it really all comes back to the image of Figure 1. I remember the thrill when these images were first released – fifty five years ago. Man in space. Man in orbit. Man on the moon. This is human destiny. Men and women shall move forward in this realm of exploration that ultimately dwarfs and, indeed, eclipses all other exploration in the history of the human race.

And it all evolved photographically. Black and white image and videos. Color images and videos. Building a compact lightweight video camera in those days wasn’t so easy. Certainly thye space race was a motivating factor in these innovations. But with the moon landing we were effectively there, as if the Goddess Selene had sent out her personal camerawoman to photograph the event.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot
This entry was posted in History of Photography, Technical Aspects of Photography.