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FULL MOON: Apollo Mission Photographs of the Lunar Landscape

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


15 Nov 2000 to 04 Mar 2001

about the exhibition

San Francisco based landscape photographer Michael Light gained unprecedented access to NASA’s archive in the creation of this exhibition. From over 32,000 photographs taken by astronauts during the 11 Apollo lunar missions from 1967 to 1972, Light made a selection based on those images he felt to have the most aesthetic compositions, or the most breathtaking views. Light’s own practice as a professional photographer informed his choices, and the resulting selections are full of references to the evolution of composition in photography. The resulting book and exhibition, FULL MOON, took viewers on an epic photographic voyage of a typical Apollo mission to the Moon. This breathtaking photographs in this exhibition presented a composite journey from the moment of lift-off to moon landing, exploration and documentation of the lunar surface, and the return voyage to Earth.

Light was meticulous in his attention to the scanning process. NASA granted him unprecedented permission to scan the original negatives brought back to earth by the Apollo astronauts at film-grain quality. The digital files were then carefully and respectfully retouched to correct variations in the developing process, and in some cases stitched together to create incredible panoramic views of the lunar landscape, and then printed directly onto photographic paper in a laser-transfer process.