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Over 600 Rare US Space Photographs Go on View in London

James McDivitt First US Spacewalk - Ed White’s EVA over New Mexico, Gemini 4, 3 June 1965 Vintage chromogenic print flush-mounted to original card, 20 x 25.5cm, image 18 x 15.3cm, [NASA  negative number S-65-30433A] Provenance: The personal collection of Ed White , Heritage Auctions, Sale 6082, lot Captivated by the experience of his spacewalk, Ed White resisted repeated calls from Houston to get  back to the craft: Est. £800-1,200 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
James McDivitt’s photograph of the first US spacewalk with astronaut Ed White, flying over New Mexico on Gemini 4 (June 3, 1965), vintage chromogenic print, from the personal collection of Ed White (all photos courtesy Bloomsbury Auctions)
Over 600 vintage space photographs from NASA missions, many not seen by the public before, are on view in London until their auction at the end of the month. Highlights of From the Earth to the Moon: Vintage NASA Photographs are at Mallett Antiques through February 19, then the full collection goes on display at Bloomsbury Auctions until the sale on February 26.

One of the major sources for From the Earth to the Moon is the personal photo album of astronaut Ed White. It chronicles the 1965 Gemini 4 mission in behind-the-scenes detail, where the astronauts prepare for their expedition in the tiny module, and when up above the atmosphere White took the first US space walk. Tragically, White later died in the Apollo 1 cabin fire during a rehearsal prior to its planned February 21, 1967 launch.

Ed White’s personal photograph album of the Gemini 4 mission, June 1965 Thirty vintage chromogenic prints on fibre-based Kodak paper, each 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), “A Kodak Paper” watermarks on versos, most of them with NASA captions and identification numbers, with the original cloth binder, the spine labeled Gemini IV Color in White’s hand, the photographs removed from open sleeves and preserved in conservation sleeves An outstanding collection documenting the Gemini 4 mission and the first spacewalk by an American. It comprises 8 photographs of Ed White’s EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) taken by McDivitt from the spacecraft, the first view of a spacecraft in space taken by Ed White during the EVA, 2 training scenes, 7 of the astronauts’ launch preparations, 2 of the launch, recovery of McDivitt by helicopter, 1 orbital sunrise and 8 views of the Earth from orbit, 3 of these with locations overprinted and one with a marginal note in White’s hand. Provenance: Heritage Auctions, sale 6082, lot 40031Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
The Gemini module, from Ed White’s personal photograph album of the Gemini 4 mission (June 1965), vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Ed White’s personal photograph album of the Gemini 4 mission, June 1965 Thirty vintage chromogenic prints on fibre-based Kodak paper, each 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), “A Kodak Paper” watermarks on versos, most of them with NASA captions and identification numbers, with the original cloth binder, the spine labeled Gemini IV Color in White’s hand, the photographs removed from open sleeves and preserved in conservation sleeves An outstanding collection documenting the Gemini 4 mission and the first spacewalk by an American. It comprises 8 photographs of Ed White’s EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) taken by McDivitt from the spacecraft, the first view of a spacecraft in space taken by Ed White during the EVA, 2 training scenes, 7 of the astronauts’ launch preparations, 2 of the launch, recovery of McDivitt by helicopter, 1 orbital sunrise and 8 views of the Earth from orbit, 3 of these with locations overprinted and one with a marginal note in White’s hand. Provenance: Heritage Auctions, sale 6082, lot 40031Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
The astronauts preparing inside the module, Ed White’s personal photograph album of the Gemini 4 mission (June 1965), vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper

The Kodak paper prints from the album are presented alongside incredible shots like a time-exposure of the Gemini 10 launch, Buzz Aldrin posed with an American flag on the moon (its rippling waves formed with wire to mimic wind), and Eugene Cernan’s photograph of Harrison Schmitt with the Earth above on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the last time a human has stood on the lunar surface. There are also captures from the ground documenting the missions, like Ralph Morse’s July 16, 1969 photograph for LIFE magazine of the triumphant Apollo 11 lifting off with Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins for its historic trip to the Moon.

“You have to realize that the rocket had to go through the camera, in a sense,” Morse is quoted as saying in reference to the image. “It had to go through the camera’s field of view. It took me two years to get NASA to agree to let me make this shot. Now, RCA had the camera contract at Cape Canaveral at that time, and they had a steel box-with optical glass-attached to the launch platform. We negotiated a deal with them and I was able to put a Nikon, with maybe 30 or 40 feet of film, inside the box, looking out through the glass. The camera was wired into the launch countdown, and at around minus-four seconds the camera started shooting something like ten frames per second.”

If the auction of memorabilia from the NASA missions makes you raise an eyebrow in terms of ownership, ever since a bill was signed into law in September of 2012, astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo crews have “full ownership rights” to “artifacts from the astronauts’ space missions” that they received and kept. And with NASA’s Orion, morphed from the cancelled Constellation program, still in concept stage, these photographs are now valuable talismans of the glory days of human-piloted space exploration. Yet their continued interest to us is a reminder that public excitement about space travel still thrives. As Ray Bradbury once said in response to negative reactions to the moon landings: “This is the result of six billion years of evolution. Tonight, we have given the lie to gravity. We have reached for the stars … And you refuse celebrate? To hell with you!”

Time-exposure of Gemini 10 launch, July 1966 Vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), “A Kodak Paper”  watermark on verso, numbered NASA S-66-42762 in red in top margin A time-exposure creates the illusion of multiple rocker arms. Onboard were astronauts John Young  and Michael Collins, command pilot and pilot, respectively. Est. £200-300
Time-exposure of the multiple rocker arms for the Gemini 10 launch (July 1966), vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Ralph Morse Apollo 11 lifts off on its historic flight to the Moon, 16 July 1969 Large-format vintage chromogenic print on resin coated Kodak paper, borderless, 35.2 x 27.5cm, “A  Kodak Paper” watermark on verso Perhaps Morse’s greatest image for Life Magazine: “You have to realize that the rocket had to go  through the camera, in a sense. It had to go through the camera’s field of view. It took me two years  to get NASA to agree to let me make this shot. Now, RCA had the camera contract at Cape Canaveral  at that time, and they had a steel box-with optical glass-attached to the launch platform. We  negotiated a deal with them and I was able to put a Nikon, with maybe 30 or 40 feet of film, inside  the box, looking out through the glass. The camera was wired into the launch countdown, and at  around minus-four seconds the camera started shooting something like ten frames per second.”  Ralph Morse  Est. £1,000-1,500 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
Ralph Morse, Apollo 11 lifting off on its historic flight to the Moon (July 16, 1969), large-format vintage chromogenic print on resin coated Kodak paper

Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the Sea of Tranquillity, Apollo 11, July 1969 Large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, borderless, 60 x 51cm, “A Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, NASA HQ caption on separate page, [NASA negative number AS11-40-5874] On the windless plain Aldrin saluted the American flag, stiffened with wire so it would “wave”. Illustrated: Moon p.194-195 Est. £5,000-7,000 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin & the American flag on the Sea of Tranquillity (July 1969), large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Buzz Aldrin  Boot print on the lunar surface, Apollo 11, July 1969  Large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, 36.5 x 28.2, image 34.3 x 27cm,   “A Kodak Paper” watermark and US army caption on verso, [NASA negative number AS11-40-5880]  “This is the result of six billion years of evolution. Tonight, we have given the lie to gravity. We have   reached for the stars.” Ray Bradbury, BBC TV, 20 July 1969  Est. £3,000-5,000
Buzz Aldrin’s photograph of a boot print on the lunar surface (July 1969), large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Neil Armstrong Portrait of Buzz Aldrin with the photographer and the Lunar Module reflected in his gold-plated  visor, Apollo 11, July 1969 Large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, borderless, 61 x 51cm, “A  Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, NASA HQ caption on separate page, [NASA negative number  AS11-40-5903] A Man on the Moon, the legendary image. Illustrated: Moon, frontispiece Est. £8,000-10,000 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin, with the photographer & the Lunar Module reflected in his gold-plated visor (July 1969), large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Reflections of the Sun over the LM “Antares” in the lunar black sky, Large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, borderless, 27.7 x 35.5cm, “A  Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, [NASA negative number AS14-66-9306]. Est. £2,000-3,000
Reflections of the Sun over the LM “Antares” in the lunar black sky, large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
David Scott James Irwin salutes the American flag, Apollo 15, August 1971 Large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, 51 x 41cm, 42 x 40cm, RCA  stamp and “A Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, [NASA negative number AS15-88-11866] Few Apollo photographs have been reproduced more often than this photograph of Irwin, the flag,  the Rover, the LM and Mount Hadley. Illustrated: A man on the Moon pp 64-65 Est. £4,000-6,000 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
David Scott’s photograph of James Irwin saluting the American flag, Apollo 15 (August 1971), large-format vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper
Ronald Evans The crescent Earth rising from behind the Moon, Apollo 17, December 1972 Large format vintage chromogenic print, 27 x 34.5cm, flush-mounted on original NASA card, [NASA  AS17-152-23274] Illustrated: A Man on the Moon, p.260 Est. £3,000-5,000 Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions
Ronald Evans, The crescent Earth rising from behind the Moon, Apollo 17 (December 1972), large format vintage chromogenic print

Pete Conrad Alan Bean with the reaction of the photographer in his visor, EVA 2, Apollo 12, November 1969 Vintage gelatin silver print, 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), NASA MSC caption on verso, numbered NASA AS12-49-7278 in black in top margin Alan Bean holds a container of lunar soil in his right hand. His Hasselblad camera is mounted on the control unit on his chest. Illustrated: Full Moon plate 69, The View from Space p.46
Pete Conrad, Alan Bean with the reflection of the photographer in his visor, along with a Hasselblad camera mounted to the control unit on his chest, EVA 2, Apollo 12 (November 1969), vintage gelatin silver print
Eclipse of the Sun by the Earth, Apollo 12, November 1969 Vintage chromogenic print on resin coated Kodak paper, borderless, 20.3 x 20.3cm (8 x 8in), “A Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, [NASA S80-37406] This dramatic view of an eclipse when the Earth moved directly between the sun and the spacecraft is a scene only visible in space. It was taken with a 16mm motion-picture camera from the Apollo 12 spacecraft during its journey home from the Moon.
Eclipse of the Sun by the Earth, Apollo 12 (November 1969), vintage chromogenic print on resin coated Kodak paper
Panorama of the receding Moon, Apollo 15, August 1971  Mosaic of nine vintage gelatin silver prints numbered NASA AS15-94-12855 to AS15-94-12859 in   black in top margin, 32 x 38cm, image 29 x 33cm  The crew was on its way back to Earth when they captured this view of the Moon.
Panorama of the receding Moon, Apollo 15 (August 1971), mosaic of nine vintage gelatin silver prints. The crew was on its way back to Earth when they captured this view of the Moon.
Eugene Cernan Harrison Schmitt with the Earth above the US ag, EVA 1, Apollo 17, December 1972 Vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), “A Kodak Paper” watermark on verso, numbered NASA AS17-134- 20384 in red in top margin “I captured the Earth, the Moon, the man, and the country all in one. I’m proud of this picture.” Eugene Cernan. “One of the great photos ever to come out of the space program.” Richard Underwood Illustrated: Space pp132-133, The View from Space p.65, Spacecam p.35 £750 - £1,000
Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt with the Earth above, EVA 1, Apollo 17 (December 1972), vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak

Highlights of From the Earth to the Moon: Vintage NASA Photographs are on view through February 19 at Mallett Antiques (Ely House, 37 Dover Street, London). The full collection is on view at Bloomsbury Auctions (Bloomsbury House, 24 Maddox Street, London) from February 22 to 25.

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