Full Moon: A Project by Michael Light January 5 — February 3, 2001

The men who navigated the Apollo space craft to the moon were less concerned about camera aperture and film speed as they were about their safety, their unprecedented journeys and the mysteries and challenges they involved. But America understood the endeavor it was undertaking and equipped the astronauts with handheld Hasselblads and an automatic robotic camera attached to the shuttle which recorded the earth at various intervals, revealing a landscape never before seen. The result of these ten missions is preserved in 32,000 negatives housed at the NASA space center in Houston, a reknown public archive.

Michael Light's fascination with the moon started at the age of six when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon's surface. Years later, Light's intrigue became evident in his first photographic book, Ranch, which recorded the story of the ranching industry in the Southwest. Sequenced like a film, the book takes the viewer on an aerial view of the landscape, down onto the land, through the branding process and back above the ranch.

This cinematic narrative about the land and man's place within it is at the core of Michael Light's work. Realizing that the desert resembled the landscape of the moon, Light decided to visit NASA, unaware that his life was about to drastically change. Convinced that the public's notion of the moon was limited to a few iconic images, Light spent the next five years viewing, sorting and editing images taken by the Apollo astronauts between 1967 - 1972. Given unprecedented access to the master dupes of the original negatives, Light digitally scanned and cleaned them, resulting in a near perfect replication.

Like a composer of a symphony, Light orchestrated his own space voyage, creating Full Moon, a large format sequential book which assembles historical, scientific and striking images into a simulated lunar mission. Void of atmosphere, the Moon became an almost perfect photographic backdrop, as objects appear crystal sharp due to the lack of clouds, fog or haze. The resulting photographs show the earth's horizon within arms reach, bold light penetrating a limitless sky and astronauts floating in a pristine new world filled with awe, anxiety, isolation and loneliness. Michael Light's concern with the balance of power between man and nature spills from the pages of Full Moon -- a testament to his connoisseurship, insight and sense of storytelling.

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