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One Giant Leap: Historic Vintage Space Photography Auction Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Project

Courtesy of Victor Martin-Malburet, Wright and LAMA Collection

Lot 402: Harrison Schmitt, Earth and American Flag, Eugene Cernan [Apollo 17]

Courtesy of Victor Martin-Malburet, Wright and LAMA Collection

Lot 195: The first selfie in lunar orbit: William Anders during an intra-vehicular activity inside the Apollo 8 command module in orbit around the Moon, NASA [Apollo 8]

Courtesy of Victor Martin-Malburet, Wright and LAMA Collection

Groundbreaking works from Victor Martin-Malburet’s collection offer a timely invitation to reflect on the evolving legacy of the Apollo Project

The [Apollo] astronauts are often touted as great scientists and heroes, but they are rarely hailed as one of the most important photographers of all time.

—Victor Martin Malburet

CHICAGO, IL, USA, Oct. 19, 2022 / — On the 50th anniversary of the last human voyage to the Moon, Wright and LAMA are pleased to present One Giant Leap for Mankind: Vintage Photographs from the Victor Martin -Malburet Collection, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Project Apollo (1961–1972), an auction to be held in Chicago on October 28, 2022. This stunning collection includes over 300 original historic photographs from Project Apollo, the program of NASA responsible for placing the first humans on the surface of the moon. Meticulously researched and collected over 25 years by Victor Martin-Malburet, each image represents extraordinary feats of human exploration, imagination and collaboration, and many of those offered have never been published.

Astronauts turned artists
Equipped with the most sophisticated cameras developed by Kodak, Hasselblad and Zeiss for the incredibly harsh conditions of space and the lunar surface, the Apollo astronauts were told in no uncertain terms how important photography was to their mission: “If you get great photos, they’ll live forever,” summed up former NASA photography chief Richard Underwood, “Your key to immortality is in the quality of the photograph and nothing else. . While the main purpose of the astronauts was to record their activities, the images they created transcend documentation. It is not only the splendor of what is depicted, but also the aesthetic appeal of the images.

“The [Apollo] astronauts are often touted as great scientists and heroes, but they are rarely hailed as one of the most important photographers of all time. From the unknown, they brought back a new visual vocabulary. Through them, art has freed itself from gravity,” suggests Martin-Malburet. “The breathtaking images from the James Webb Space Telescope released earlier this year remind us that the trajectories of space exploration and imaging technologies remain inextricably linked. In today’s digital age, it’s easy to forget that Project Apollo and its extraordinary technical achievements took place when photography was still analog, requiring light-sensitive chemistry, film and paper. photographic. Brimming with “firsts” and punctuated with all the major visual milestones of the Golden Age of Space Exploration – many of which became instant cultural touchstones – One Giant Leap celebrates the profound impact Project Apollo had on the planet. art, science and human understanding of our place in the cosmos.

The whole picture
For the grand finale of Project Apollo, astronauts on the last human journey to the moon captured the fully illuminated Earth’s disk, the only humans to witness this sight. Known as the Blue Marble, NASA image AS17–148–22727 was taken by Harrison Schmitt or Ronald Evans of Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972, five hours after launch and 18,000 miles from Earth . Lot 430 ($15,000-25,000) of One Giant Leap, a large format vintage chromogenic print produced specifically for display by NASA, is a true rarity – no human has since been far enough from planet Earth to capture another image of the entire Earth.

Five years before The Blue Marble, NASA’s ATS 3 unmanned satellite transmitted the first color photograph of the entire Earth from space. Considered one of the most important photographs ever taken, it was used for the iconic cover of the first Whole Earth Catalogue, the countercultural magazine founded by Stewart Brand and adored by Steve Jobs. Printed in 1967, lot 174 ($6,000-8,000) can be considered “humanity’s first selfie”.

earth rising
Among the highlights of One Giant Leap are the first images captured from space by pioneering astronauts from Mercury and Gemini. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was also the first human to carry a camera into space. Lot 106 ($5,000-7,000), taken by Glenn, depicts the Earth’s horizon and space from Friendship 7 and is the first photograph taken by humans from space.

Astronaut William Anders had the honor of photographing the exhilarating sight of Earthrise as Apollo 8 circled the Moon for the first time in December 1968. One Giant Leap features rare photographs of the first Earthrise observed by humans, including the iconic shot released by NASA and published on the front cover after the mission, but printed here in its almost unreleased original square Hasselblad format (Lot 192, $8,000-12,000) or in a large format version (Lot 206, $12,000-18,000).

Lot 402 ($4,000-6,000) was described by NASA Chief of Photography Richard Underwood as “one of the finest photos to ever come out of the space program”. The striking image captures for the first time a human, Apollo 17 Harrison Schmitt, and distant Earth in a single image, complete with the American flag.

A new world of firsts, lasts, rarities… and #Selfies
Lot 249 ($10,000-15,000) is the first photograph taken by man on the surface of another world, by Neil Armstrong. Signed by the Apollo 17 crew to NASA Chief of Photography Richard Underwood, Underwood himself described this image as “one of the most amazing photographs ever recorded in all of human history. “.

Lot 289 ($30,000-50,000) is one of the few known large-format vintage prints of the only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, as NASA believed at the time that no photographs existed of the first man on the moon. The photo was not released for 20 years until researchers recognized Armstrong near the LM Eagle in this part of a panoramic footage of Buzz Aldrin.

Lot 159 ($8,000-12,000), taken by Buzz Aldrin in 1966, is the first selfie in space. Lot 195 ($1,500-$2,500) is the first selfie in lunar orbit. Lot 306 ($2,500-4,000) can be considered the first lunar selfie and shows Pete Conrad fully reflected in the visor of fellow astronaut Alan Bean.

Amani Olu
Olu & Company
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