J.L. Pickering, as a rule, does not refer favorably to those types of books that are based on NASA photographs, “which no one has seen before.”
The space historian and half of his team from the University of New Mexico Press presented a new book, “Satellite Images and Projects of Mercury and Gemini: Rare Photo Story”. Although people could already see these photographs before, but, as the author explains, it is very rare to find the correct description of them.
“When we go into any bookstore, we naturally check space books,” says John Beasney, co-author of Pickering. This led them to the idea of creating a new book, in which those pictures of NASA's manned space programs that are very rare and not their reproduction will be presented. “Usually we take such images, and such a reaction always arises: this I saw, this I saw and this too.”
Worse still, such “images that no one has ever seen before” were misinterpreted.
“There was a problem in those“ unique updates ”that we found. They were given some kind of sloppy explanations, with a huge pile of mistakes - sharing Bisney. - “And then J.L.L. showed me those incredible pictures from his own collection. And my reaction was this: "Never seen, and this one never, and this one also never saw."
And then Bisney said: “So why, instead of photographs that everyone saw, did we not make a book with photographs that no one else had seen?”. And that's what they did. Total collected two volumes, the second will be released in September. In the first, the authors planned to cover the Apollo Moon landing program. Under the title “Space Images”, the book features two flights of Mercury and Gemini. It will use about hundreds of thousands of different photos that Pickering collected for decades from veterans of the American space program.
“At some point I simply saved one, two, three, four, and then already five hundred photos of each trip,” Pickering describes. “And suddenly, it suddenly dawned on us, but what if we can find a way to combine all these pictures together under a common theme.”
This method turned out to be a 224-page work titled “Space Images and Shots,” which included almost 700 images of astronauts, space capsules, rockets and launchers.
“There could be a lot more,” says Pickerig. - We started to do 60-75 frames in each mission. But we tried not to repeat and not duplicate the same events too often. ”
“If it was only for me, then I would save power and give up the night shooting of vehicles on the launch pad. But John was not that kind of person, ”he noted.
John Beasney is a former correspondent who has covered the space program for over 30 years for CNN, Discovery, and SiriusXM Radio. He organized the photographs that Pickering took and signed each of them personally.
“When we started, it was just an ordinary photo book,” says Pickering. “So after we finally selected all the images, I gave John some initial information, like dates, which I had and pointed out every little thing I knew about each photo.” “And we started with this little headlines. And suddenly, they began to turn into those long explanations, and I think that this is exactly what made our book, ”he says.
Expansion of descriptions was due to two factors. First, Bisney had never made descriptions for books before. But it turned out that the more he looked at the photos, the more the desire to learn more about them grew in him.
“The longer I looked at the pictures, the more I asked myself:“ What is it? Who is this person? What's going on there, ”Bisney recalls. “And the longer this thinking process lasted, the more interesting details arose that I wanted to describe.”
All this led to the fact that the authors with intense attention began to re-examine the history of Mercury and Gemini.
“Of course, among the pictures there are photos already seen before, and those that do not belong to NASA,” says Pickering. “But that doesn't make the book less stellar.” After all, there are still a few hundred amazing images that were not available to people before. ”