I am happy to announce that our book “Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments” is back in stock on Amazon.
10 Creative Books to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is on July 20, 2019. Looking for a way to celebrate this amazing human achievement? Just pick up a book! Books about the moon landing offer a detailed look at the event that left an indelible mark on our culture—including rare and never-before-seen images.
To help you wade through the massive selection of titles, we’ve picked some great books about the moon landing. One publication, titled The Moon 1968 – 1972, gives us a first-hand look at what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin saw while walking its surface—literally. The book features images taken from their Hasselblad cameras and curates from a staggering 1,400 pictures. In doing so, it gives you an overall sense of what it was like to be looking down on the Earth.
Some of the publications on our list aren’t focused on the 1969 moon landing, specifically, but they demonstrate how artists and photographers are influenced by it. Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art, for instance, highlights the different ways in which artists have recreated the celestial body. Moon Viewing: Megaliths by Moonlight is another book that shares how monoliths, created by man, are illuminated by Earth’s satellite. While incredible in scale, the megaliths still pale in comparison to the moon that looms from way above.
Check out our picks for creative books on the moon landing and beyond, below.
Here are the best creative books about the moon landing (and beyond). They are a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic event.
Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments by J. L. Pickering and John Bisney
Picturing Apollo 11 offers a new photographic history of the iconic space mission. It features “unpublicized and recently discovered images” that highlight the people, places, and events that helped Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin successfully land on the moon.
The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art by Hudson River Museum
The moon is an alluring subject for American painters. Through an exhibition organized at the Hudson River Museum, this accompanying catalog showcases the different ways in which artists have explored the celestial body.
The Moon 1968 – 1972 by E.B. White and John Kennedy
The Apollo missions sent many men into space between the years of 1968 and 1972. Although each was well-documented, the astronauts were given cameras to snap pictures. Included is writing by the likes of E.B. White and President John Kennedy, making the book an exploration of the sublimity of space.
Hasselblad & the Moon Landing by Deborah Ireland
Similar to The Moon 1968 – 1972, Deborah Ireland’s book Hasselblad & the Moon Landingis an examination of the shots that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin snapped using their Hasselblad 500EL cameras. While it shares these firsthand images of the moon, the work also touches on the challenge of creating a camera that could take these pictures in the first place.
Moon Viewing: Megaliths by Moonlight by Barbara Yoshida
Megalithic monuments (such as Stonehenge) are found around the world. Barbara Yoshida documents these monoliths with 10 years of travel, and her published work showcases how the giant stones look against the moon and stars.
Moon: The Art, Science and Culture of the Moon by Alexandra Loske and Robert Massey
We are endlessly fascinated with the moon and express our allure for it through storytelling, artwork, and, of course, scientific explorations. Alexandra Loske and Robert Massey trace the visual history of the moon in this “illuminating volume.”
Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography by Mia Fineman and Beth Saunders
The field of photography has undergone immense changes since the advent of the first photograph. Apollo’s Muse showcases the history of photographic representations of the moon from daguerreotypes to video art.
Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth by Robert Poole
What happened when our imagined visions of Earth met the reality of it? Earthrise is the story of the first photographs of Earth from outer space and the impact it had on our culture, science, and religion.
We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program by Richard Paul and Steven Moss
The Space Age began as the fight for civil rights “forced Americans to confront the long and bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans.” During this time, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson used federal equal employment opportunity laws to open jobs at NASA and NASA contractors to African Americans. Authors Richard Paul and Steven Moss profile 10 African American space workers whose roles at NASA and the space program helped promote civil rights.
Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects by Teasel E. Muir-Harmony
Using 50 artifacts from the Smithsonian archives, author Teasel E. Muir-Harmony tells the story of the Apollo 11 landing and man’s subsequent walk on the moon. The curated objects range from the lunar rover to space food to moon rocks, and each tells an interesting story that ultimately helped make the mission a success.
The Quest for Unpublished Photos of Apollo 11
By J. L. Pickering, coauthor of Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments
This book is available at a discount price through July 31, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Order here and use code APOLLO.
How many photos of an historical event are “enough”? The answer likely depends on who you are. Let’s use the mission of Apollo 11, the first time humans landed on the moon, as an example. If you’re a casual student of history, the number of images that have been publicly available since 1969 are probably sufficient. If you’re more of space enthusiast, however, you want to see more, since they would add to your understanding and appreciation of what transpired.
But if you’re a true historian, the answer may be, “there are never enough!” That’s because each additional photo provides more detail and information, much like a movie showing the same scene from different angles. As someone who has been collecting, organizing, and archiving still photos from the U.S. manned space flight programs for 48 years, I fall into this category.
What is that astronaut holding during training? Who is the technician seen obliquely in one image but clearly in another (maybe his name can be deciphered by zooming in on his name badge)? But the desire to bring as many photos to light as possible goes beyond just factual reasons; sometimes, a more attractive version was overlooked or omitted.
The relatively small universe of photos released by NASA, however, was not nefarious but was determined by the demand. It’s important to remember that during the Apollo era, newspapers (almost all printing in black and white halftone) and general-interest magazines only needed so many photos; and digital reproduction and the Internet were still decades away.
In the intervening forty years, attention also turned to what would end up as something of a temporary future: the space shuttle program, lasting from 1981–2011. When digital photography arrived during the 1990s, the number of shuttle images exploded and “storing” them was not a problem. Meanwhile, however, tens of thousands of celluloid negatives and prints from the past Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs were packed away and eventually sent from NASA’s field centers to the National Archives.
A significant cache of material ended up in a spare railroad boxcar parked in the Florida heat and humidity near the Launch Complex 39 Press Site, and after years of neglect, was headed to a local landfill. A few concerned retirees managed to save thousands of prints. Many of them, however, had already been released (or at least made available to the media) during the 1970s. The bulk of physical Apollo-era photography was eventually boxed up and sent to one of three National Archives facilities in Maryland, Texas, or Georgia. In the past few years I have spent many weeks and dollars at these facilities scanning and “liberating” images from color negatives that were never printed.
Many of these photos—and others I have obtained from private sources—form the core of the space history photo books I produce with my coauthor, former news correspondent John Bisney. Our goal is always to go beyond the “greatest hits” to bring readers a wealth of great new images they would never otherwise see. These locked-away photos, taken on the ground as opposed to the more famous (and fully released) in-flight images snapped by the astronauts, capture moments in time, split seconds in history that will never be repeated. They’re filled with far more than astronauts and spacecraft—instead they reveal the men and women behind the successes and failures of the early U.S. manned space program. We see their emotions, their workplaces, and glimpses of their everyday lives and culture on the job.
This is why I continue to persevere to try to overcome a less-than-helpful federal bureaucracy not particularly interested in devoting resources to releasing images from half a century ago, now languishing in government warehouses. John and I are always delighted to bring you the results.
J. L. Pickering, coauthor (with John Bisney) of Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments, has been archiving rare space images for some forty years. Drawing from NASA archives, retired NASA personnel, news photographers, and other sources, his collection numbers more than 120,000 high-resolution prints and images. He covered the final Apollo/Saturn launch in 1975 and attended numerous Space Shuttle launches. Today he serves as a resource and expert for authors, documentary filmmakers, museums, former astronauts, and even NASA. He lives in Bloomington, Illinois.
Today we mark the birthday of our first president, George Washington, which was actually February 22. The holiday, however, has become widely-known as Presidents’ Day to honor all who have held the office, and so is also an opportunity to remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy.
In the 1960s, February 22 was a federal holiday, no matter what day of the week it fell (Lincoln’s February 12 birthday, incidentally, was never a federal holiday). On all three times it rolled around during his administration, President Kennedy found time to relax. In 1961, after a series of morning briefings at the White House, he played nine holes of golf in the afternoon, followed by a few more meetings and then dinner at a friend’s home. In 1963, he was at the Kennedy family compound in Palm Beach, Fla. He went to the beach in the morning and cruised on the yacht Honey Fitz in the afternoon.
On February 22, 1962, he was also in Palm Beach. He had flown down from Washington earlier in the day, accompanied by the family of astronaut John Glenn. They would all attend a medal ceremony in Glenn’s honor the next day at Cape Canaveral after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20.
It was Kennedy’s first visit to the Cape, and he received a brief tour of launch facilities before pinning NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal on Glenn’s lapel. The president would come to the space center on two more occasions during his time in office. We cover all three visits with multi-page photo spreads in our new book, The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy, along with detailed captions providing the rich historical background for each image. By John Bisney for Retrospaceimages Blog.
This book is now available. Follow the affiliate link below to view on Amazon.
President John F. Kennedy (at bottom of airplane stairs) and members of John Glenn’s family exit Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 22, 1962. Walking down the stairs behind Kennedy are Glenn’s wife, Annie; his daughter, Lyn; and his son David.
“Out of this world: Rare and never before seen pictures provide a unique glance behind NASA’s groundbreaking 1969 moon landing” Luke Kenton The Daily Mail .
We are pleased that our book is getting noticed in the UK. Thank you to The Daily Mail for reviewing our book today.
“50 years ago this July, Neil Armstrong took ‘one giant leap for mankind’ as he became the first human to step foot on the moon’s surface – and now, never-before-seen pictures provide a unique glimpse behind the profound 1969 voyage. “
Follow the affiliate link below to view on Amazon.
Available on pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Hardcover released March 14th, 2019 The University of Florida Press
“Picturing Apollo 11”, which has been named a 2019 Top Ten release by Publisher’s Weekly in Art, Architecture & Photography, has also just received a nice review.
Although it wont be shipped until March 15, its currently on sale for $29.30 (a 35% discount) from Amazon and Target.
In a story told primarily through photos and captions, historian Pickering and journalist Bisney (coauthors of Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo), chronicle 1969’s heady days of “moon fever.” Across 10 well-organized chapters, the selected images capture the country’s mounting excitement; the meticulous preparation of astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins; and finally the moon landing itself and the crew’s return to Earth. Subjects range from the magnificent—the Apollo 11 rocket at sunset or twilight on the launching pad—to the mundane—the astronauts signing rental car forms at a NASA base. Some of the most affecting images are simple portraits of Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins, which amply capture their discipline and determination. In the introduction, Bisney notes that he and Pickering don’t claim to include any new material from space, as all “in-flight photography” has been publicly available since 1969; NASA buffs familiar with such images may find fresh interest in, for instance, those of the astronauts enduring a 21-day isolation period after their return and then being feted around the world. The reader is left with an ample sense of the astronauts’ fame and, thanks to Pickering and Bisney’s wise selections, of their lasting accomplishment. (Mar.)
I am pleased to share a promotional video for the book “The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy” by John Bisney and myself. The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.
Please click the link below to watch the promotional video.
I am pleased to announce that my next book with coauthor John Bisney, The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy – A Rare Photographic History, will be published in March by the University of New Mexico Press. The Space-Age Presidency of John F. Kennedy
This unprecedented work captures the compelling story of President Kennedy’s role in advancing the US space program, set against the Cold War with the Soviet Union. It chronicles his activities in Washington and his travels throughout the country during 1961-1963, a pivotal three years for NASA. It also further unveils Kennedy’s ambivalence toward the Apollo program as the centerpiece of America’s space race against the Soviets.
Filled with many unpublished photos of the president at civilian and military space facilities, it showcases rare photographs with exhaustively-researched captions. We also include excerpts from Kennedy’s speeches, news conferences, and once-secret White House recordings to provide more context through Kennedy’s own words.
We are very grateful to Dr. Christopher C. Kraft for providing the foreword. John and I hope you will enjoy our latest space history photo book.
A Rare Photographic History
In this companion volume to their extraordinary book of rare photographs from the Mercury and Gemini missions, John Bisney and J. L. Pickering present the rest of the Golden Age of US manned space flight with a photographic history of Project Apollo.
In this companion volume to John Bisney and J.L. Pickering’s extraordinary book of rare photographs from the Mercury and Gemini missions, the authors present the Golden Age of US manned space flight with a photographic history of Project Apollo.
Beginning in 1967, Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo chronicles the program’s twelve missions and its two follow-ons, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The authors draw from rarely seen NASA, industry, and news media images, taking reatders to the Moon, on months-long odysseys above Earth, and finally on the first international manned space flight in 1975.
The book pairs many previously unpublished images from Pickering’s unmatched collection of Cold War’era space photographs with extended captions identifying many NASA, military, and contract workers and participants for the first time to provide comprehensive background information about the exciting climax and conclusion of the Space Race.
Click Link below to purchase book.