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NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future

Imagine if NASA and its archives were shot with the same reverence and attention to detail as an Apple product. This is exactly what you'll find in Benedict Redgrove's "NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future" and it is some of the most incredible imagery you'll ever find of the NASA space program. 

"Nine years in the making. Over 200 images of space exploration’s most iconic objects, as you’ve never seen them before. One man’s lifetime obsession with space and the achievements of NASA.

This is NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future, a new book from photographer Benedict Redgrove launching on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. With unprecedented access to NASA’s spacecraft, labs and facilities Redgrove has created a unique and powerful tribute to the pioneers of space exploration.

For Redgrove, it’s about showing the emotional impact of these objects. “I wanted to explore the reaction we have to these machines and objects when we see them in fine detail,” he says, “and what they mean to us as human beings.”

“The image of the astronaut, or spaceman has been with me ever since, as a sort of talisman to all that is great and good. They symbolise the explorer, the hero, the good character, the leader. The spacesuit takes on that character, the suit and the human become one entity, more powerful than either on their own. It’s now a symbol in it’s own right, and it’s become greater than the sum of its parts. It has reached an iconic stature that few objects can match. These objects have come to signify human achievements.”

Redgrove spent five years negotiating and trust-building with NASA followed by four years of photography and production while holding down his day job.

It paid off, and he gained access to some of NASA’s most restricted areas and facilities allowing him to photograph objects rarely seem by the outside world. He went inside the Lunar Samples Lab to photograph the priceless moon rock collected on the Apollo missions, watched the sun set behind the International Space Station from the mission control room and entered the assembly rooms where the next generation of spacecraft are being built.

But it was his encounter with Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly, that left him feeling the full power of these objects. “I watched the launch of the first shuttle mission in 1981, when I was 11, and that started my obsession with space and NASA. Seeing Atlantis was like meeting your childhood hero, but better. I felt like I was having a religious experience.”

The result is a collection of intimate, finely-detailed images that allow that objects to tell their own story. Shot using digital backs on technical cameras, some are made up from over 60 exposures to capture incredible detail. The images are then painstakingly retouched to remove them from their backgrounds, allowing them to be viewed without distraction."

"NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future" will hit Kickstarter on July 20th. / 

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