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On View: Astronaut Scott Kelly's Photographic Year In Space

By David Schonauer   Thursday June 30, 2016


Scott Kelley had more to do in space than take pictures.

But then again, the astronaut spent 340 days aboard the International Space Station on his last mission, which ended in March, so there was some time to kill.

During that stay in space, noted National Geographic, Kelly made more than 5,000 trips around the Earth, drank nearly 200 gallons of drinking water made from recycled sweat and urine, and used a Nikon D4 to shoot hundreds of images of the Earth from his camera platform 249 miles up.

Kelly was the ultimate storm chaser, viewing hurricanes from above. Like many other photographers, he delighted at views of the aurora borealis. He turned the turquoise water of the Bahamas into a watercolor painting and captured the red glow caused oxygen atoms colliding with high-energy space particles at the Earth’s horizon.

Kelly’s work was a hit on social media: “From Twitter to Tumblr, hundreds of thousands of social media users expressed their wonderment at the photos — and a devoted band of mapping experts tagged along, helpfully noting where Kelly snapped his pics,” notes Nat Geo.

Now large-scale prints of the Kelly’s work are going on view at Los Angeles post-production facility DigitalFusion, in an exhibition sponsored by printer maker Epson and inkjet printing-paper company Hahnemühle.

Above: Bahamian watercolors

“Kelly’s photographs are stunning, and very artistic,” says DigitalFusion’s Hugh Milstein, “Kelly was not a professional photographer, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at his images. We are very excited to have the opportunity to display his work in our gallery, and I know audiences will be spellbound with his perspective and images of Space and Earth.”

Kelly, says Milstein, “gazed out of the cupola” of the ISS “and with his camera created images that show how beautiful and delicate our planet is.”

Above: Aurora sleeps tonight

Besides holding the record for the amount of time spent in space by an American, Kelly earned a place of honor in the history of space photography. Other astronauts have taken remarkable images of Earth from above, but Kelly’s are unique.

Rather than simply documenting locations and remarkable sights, Kelly often focused on small details, using them to create larger abstractions.

We have become accustomed to science fiction movies depicting the cold hostility of space and the sterility of space flight. Kelly shows space is also a place for artists.

Above:Somewhere over Australia


The exhibition at DigitalFusion goes on view on July 15. Go here for more information. Visit Scott Kelly at Instagram.

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