Out of this world photography exhibition at Williamson Art Gallery

The Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead is hosting a spectacular exhibition of never-before-seen images from the Apollo moon missions.

The photographs are set to be displayed in the USA and the only other venues where the exhibition has been held are the Royal Albert Hall in London, The Glasgow Science Centre, and in the UAE, proving what a rare opportunity this is to see the photographs.

The exhibition at the Williamson presents the photographs on a large scale, offering awe-inspiring insight into one of our greatest endeavours and it will be the biggest exhibition of the photographs staged anywhere in the world to date.

The exhibition, which opened today, is entitled “Apollo Remastered” and showcases high-quality images from Andy Saunders’ extraordinary book of the same name on a never-before-seen scale.

Apollo 17, 13th December, 1972EVA-2, HASSELBLAD 70MM. LENS 60MM F/5.6. BY GENE CERNAN, NASA ID: AS17-137-21001 TO 21013

The original photographic film from the Apollo missions is some of the most valuable and significant film in existence. It is securely stored in a frozen vault at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and never leaves the building. In fact, the film rarely leaves the freezer.

The images on this film include some of the most important moments in human history, as humankind left the confines of our home planet and set foot on another world. For nearly half a century, almost every image of the Moon landings publicly available was produced from a lower-quality copy of these originals. Until now…

Through his extraordinary book and exhibition, Andy Saunders invites viewers to explore the Moon landings in spectacular high definition for the very first time. He has applied painstaking care and cutting-edge enhancement techniques to create the highest-quality Apollo photographs ever produced.

Pre-Apollo, 11th–15th November, 1966, HASSELBLAD SWC 70MM. LENS 38MM F/4.5. BY BUZZ ALDRIN, NASA ID: S66-62922_G12-S

This exhibition promises to showcase these incredible images in a way never seen before, and visitors to the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredible story of human exploration of the Moon.

birkenhead.news spoke to Andy Saunders about how the project came about and asked him how he managed to convince NASA to allow him to do the project, “Well, luckily I didn’t need to! NASA has this open source policy, quite rightly, all these photographs are for everyone!

“They’re happy with what I’m doing because it’s celebrating the past and getting people excited about the future with the Artemis missions and return to the moon. So they’re happy for people like me to do this kind of work.

Andy Saunders. Credit: www.fotopiaimages.com

Andy told us how long he has been interested in space travel to the moon: “Well, since as long as I can remember, since a little boy, I’ve always had a fascination with the Apollo moon landings, rockets, anything that could fly.

“Going to the moon was like this ultimate destination, this ultimate journey and when I learned that people actually walked around on the moon, it started an obsession that stayed with me.

“That childlike fascination I’ve always had, but have also had this passion for photography. I wanted to know everything about these people. I wanted to see Neil Armstrong on the moon, but I couldn’t. And so that’s what really started everything!

One of Andy’s missions for the project was to create the clearest image of Neil Armstrong on the moon: “I used an unusual stacking technique on the 16mm ‘cine’ film to create the clearest image of Neil Armstrong on the moon, an image I’ve always felt was missing from the history books and that’s really what started me on this path.

“That we’ve got this holy grail of the original flight films to work on, and that’s when I decided OK, with my interest in photography, I’m going to take this project on.”

Even if you aren’t particularly interested in the moon landings the photographs are simply stunning pieces of art in their own right. Andy said, “The photography, particularly from the latter missions is absolutely stunning. They landed at some incredible landing sites, so the images are aesthetically and artistically just out of this world!”

Apollo Remastered is at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead and runs until 2 September 2023

Images: NASA / JSC / ASU / Andy Saunders unless otherwise credited

Main image: PRE-APOLLO, 3rd–7th June, 1965, HASSELBLAD 70MM. LENS 80MM F/2.8. BY JIM MCDIVITT, NASA ID: S65-30427_G04-H

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