The vintage photographs, many of which retain original NASA catalogue stamps on the reverse, were taken by the men, women and machines of NASA over a period of nearly twenty years. They include photographs from the Gemini 4, 5 and 7 missions; Apollo 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17; and the Mercury-Atlas and Voyager missions. They also include historic and iconic images such as Ed White’s spacewalk, the first completed by an American astronaut, the Apollo 8 ‘Earthrise’ and the era-defining Apollo 11 ‘Visor’ photograph taken of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong.
Vintage NASA prints, processed by NASA’s photographic laboratories shortly after the date of the scene depicted. As contemporary, original prints of pictures taken by astronaut-photographers such as Neil Armstrong, they are very rare and difficult to find, especially in good condition. Generally speaking, vintage NASA photographs were printed on fibre-based photographic paper, 20 x 25 cm (8 x 10 in). Most are printed on “A Kodak Paper”, a watermark which changed in 1972. Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are glossy prints on paper.
NASA produced master duplicates of all negatives after each mission, while the originals were locked away in cold store. From the master duplicates photographs were printed and distributed for the use of NASA’s own scientists and public relations department.