Large format vintage chromogenic print.
27.8 x 35.6 cm.
Annotated "NASA negative number S65-30433" on the verso.
Photo credit: Astronaut James McDivitt.
Vintage large-format photographs were typically printed for scientists or for presentation to visiting dignitaries. They rarely appear on the market and come in a variety of sizes.
Flight pilot Edward H. White II during his twenty-minute spacewalk in the zero gravity of space, with 15 kg of equipment on his back and attached to the spacecraft by a 25-ft umbilical line and a 23-ft tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand White carries a Hand-Held Self Manoeuvring Unit – an oxygen-jet gun – with a camera mounted above. The visor of his helmet is gold-plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.
Three months after the spacewalk of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, Ed White became the first American to perform an EVA (Extravehicular Activity). During the third orbit of Earth he opened the hatch of the capsule, pushed himself out and floated in space for 21 minutes. During his spacewalk Ed White took the first photograph of a spacecraft in orbit. Completely entranced by the experience, he resisted repeated calls from Houston to get back to the craft. “This is the saddest moment of my life” was his response on reluctantly returning.
“I took most of these photographs without being able to see what I was shooting at. The Gemini spacecraft was quite small, and I have a very tall sitting height. My head was up against the canopy or the hatch when I wasn’t pressurised, and when I was pressurised I was really crunched up in there and I couldn’t move around much. So I’d take the camera down and look to see where Ed was, and then put the camera up, point in that direction, and take the picture. I’m a good pistol and rifle shot. Maybe that helped.” James McDivitt.
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