On 19th November 1969, Apollo 12's Lunar Module Intrepid landed on the Moon in an area known as the Ocean of Storms. It was a precise touchdown, within walking distance of a previous unmanned probe called Surveyor 3. The Apollo 12 crew have for many years been my favourite group of astronauts, particularly Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean, who has since spent his years painting Lunar landscapes and reinterpreting the incredible photography shot on an alien world.
As a student, one of my favourite pastimes in the school library was to scrutinise old copies of National Geographic. As most people my age harboured desires to become pilots or astronauts, the issues which continually fascinated me were the lavish pictorials of NASA missions. Several National Geographic volumes pictured trios of astronauts wearing oppressive goldfish-bowl helmets and heavily padded white spacesuits, often posed next to scale models of their oddly-shaped spacecraft. Photographed in saturated Kodachrome, these were the men who had journeyed to the Moon twenty years earlier. The experiences of these pioneers, vividly evidenced in the universal language of the still image, has ensured that space exploration remains a inspiration for multiple generations.
Instructing film photography, developing and printing in the darkroom. © Samuel Payne 2016