Nine years in the making. Over 200 images of space exploration’s most iconic objects, as you’ve never seen them before. One man’s lifetime obsession with space and the achievements of NASA.
NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future, is an art project comprising of an experiential exhibition and book from British photographer Benedict Redgrove. With unprecedented access to NASA’s spacecraft, labs and facilities Redgrove has created a unique and powerful tribute to the pioneers of space exploration.
The collection of ultra high definition, original images are now taking form through the world of art and design.
For Redgrove, it’s about showing the emotional impact of these objects. “I wanted to explore the reaction we have to these machines and objects when we see them in fine detail,” he says, “and what they mean to us as human beings.”
“The image of the astronaut, or spaceman has been with me ever since my childhood, as a sort of talisman to all that is great and good. They symbolise the explorer, the hero, the good character, the leader. The spacesuit takes on that character, the suit and the human become one entity, more powerful than either on their own. It’s now a symbol in its own right, and it’s become greater than the sum of its parts. It has reached an iconic stature that few objects can match. These objects have come to signify the greatest of human achievements.”
Redgrove spent five years negotiating and trust-building with NASA followed by four years of photography and production while holding down his day job. It paid off, and he gained access to some of NASA’s most restricted areas and facilities allowing him to photograph objects rarely seen by the outside world. He went inside the Lunar Samples Lab to photograph the priceless moon rocks collected on the Apollo missions, watched the sun set behind the International Space Station from the mission control room and entered the assembly rooms where the next generation of spacecraft are being built.
But it was his encounter with Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly, that left him feeling the full power of these objects. “I watched the launch of the first shuttle mission in 1981, when I was 11, and that started my obsession with space and NASA. Seeing Atlantis was like meeting your childhood hero, but better. I felt like I was having a religious experience.”
The result is a collection of intimate, finely detailed images that allow the objects to tell their own story. Shot using digital backs on technical cameras, some are made up from over 60 exposures to capture incredible detail. The images are then painstakingly re- touched to remove them from their backgrounds, allowing them to be viewed without distraction.
Redgrove recently completed a successful campaign of funding on famous crowdfunding site Kickstarter, raising over £157,000 in 25 days, enabling him to self-publish a book that feels true and honest to the dream he set out to achieve. A large format (11.6inches x 14.7inches), 300-page photographic book accompanied by limited edition prints and gallery sized pieces of artwork that will only be produced for the Kickstarter backers and then never again have made these pieces instantly highly collectable. Over 1,000 backers from all over the world took part in the campaign, as well as gaining notoriety from Kickstarter HQ as one of their celebrated “project we love”. The book received 5 star ratings and coverage from the likes of Dezeen, WIRED UK, The Times, Creative Review, Design BOOM, GQ Korea, Hypebeast and many more.
The exhibition is due to go on display in London late 2019, details to follow.
Benedict Redgrove was born near Reading in Berkshire, UK. He attended Berkshire College of Art and Design and spent his early career at various design studio honing his creative talent in graphics and design until he discovered that photography was the ultimate media for him to showcase his vision.
Benedict has a lifelong fascination with innovation and industry, and is a dedicated proponent of modernism.
This combined with his love of sci-fi and space exploration has intuitively led him to capturing projects and objects at their most cutting edge. He has created an aesthetic of photography that is clean, pure and devoid of any miscellaneous information, winning him acclaim and numerous awards.
Redgrove has amassed a following and client base from some of the most advanced companies in the world, granting him access to secret and often hidden divisions at organisations such as Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, the Royal Air Force, European Space Agency, British Aerospace and NASA. Whether capturing the U-2 reconnaissance pilots and stealth planes, the Navy Bomb Disposal Division or spending time documenting the Royal Marines, Benedict strives to capture the scope and scale of advancements and what they mean to us as human beings.
A career spent recording the pioneering technology of human endeavours has produce a photographic art form that gives viewers a window into an often unseen world. These projects are regularly featured on the covers of publications such as Wired UK and Wallpaper.
Running alongside his successful career Redgrove has several personal projects, including a nine-year veneration to NASA which is being launched as a book and international exhibition in 2019. A film series about uncommon and interesting jobs and the people that carry them out and the psychology behind them. Along with various film and photography projects
He currently lives in London, dividing his time for work and family between London, Paris, Rome and USA.