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Full Moon by Michael Light
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Full Moon (original 1999; edition 2002)

by Michael Light

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466722,239 (4.47)5
Member:othersam
Title:Full Moon
Authors:Michael Light
Info:Knopf (2002), Hardcover
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Full Moon by Michael Light (1999)

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This is a beautifully produced book of images taken primarily from the Apollo moon missions (there's a couple from the earlier Gemini missions, too), which after 40-odd years are still breathtaking.

The photographs are presented on black pages with only the image numbering as text. Captions are given for each photograph at the end of the book and, while this means much flicking back and forth on a first read, means that the images stand for themselves when you go back over them, which I certainly will.

There are several of the iconic images that have entered the global consciousness: Ed White's spacewalk; Earthrise from lunar orbit; Buzz Aldrin's footprint in the lunar "soil", "Full Earth": but mostly they are taken from NASA archives which have not been widely circulated.

There's a short essay by the author at the end of the book, describing how he conceived the project and the rationale for his choice of pictures to include.

I don't understand how anybody could not be moved by these amazing photographs that document what is still the crowning achievement of human culture. If you think the moon-landings were a hoax, shame on you. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Mar 30, 2013 |
A collection of photographs from various Apollo moon missions (and one slightly out-of-place Gemini mission) strung together to create a wordless composite narrative including liftoff, looking back at the Earth, taking a spacewalk, exploring the moon, and returning to the Earth. The images include both sweeping panoramic landscapes and small, strangely mundane close-ups of tools and equipment. Many of them are extremely striking, and editor Michael Light deliberately chose some of the more obscure images from the NASA archives, so a lot of them were unfamiliar to me, as well.

I wasn't entirely sure, as I paged through the photographs, just how well the central conceit worked, as I found myself wishing for a little more context and maybe a little less of an art project vibe, but then I realized that the back of the book included captions for everything, as well as an essay about the photographs and the conditions under which they were taken, which satisfied my desire pretty well. It also includes a slightly longer essay by Andrew Chaikin. This perhaps suffers a little by trying to describe all the Apollo missions all at once, as if he were trying to condense his excellent A Man on the Moon down to less than a dozen pages. But the quotes he includes from the astronauts about what they saw and felt on their journeys are marvelous.

I'm not entirely sure quite how to rate this, but I think I have to give it at least 4/5, if just for the breathtaking lunar panoramas alone. ( )
1 vote bragan | Oct 12, 2011 |
This is an absolutely extraordinary book. 128 sometimes breathtaking pictures of the Moon (and the Earth), most of which are not easy to be found anywhere else, take you on a journey to our nearest celestial companion. The sharpness of the images, the stark contrasts between lunar surface and the pitch black sky, and in the midst of this void the comparatively most humble signs of human technical ingenuity invite the reader (or the spectator) to take in the daunting beauty behind it. ( )
  ThomasK | Nov 21, 2008 |
Just like being there: For someone who was too young to appreciate the Apollo moon landings at the time, this book gives me the feeling I was actually there, with the astronauts! The exceptionally high quality of the images, most of which need no caption makes this almost without exception one of the astronomical books of the decade, if not the century!Its a pity that this book shows us what we lost when we left the moon in 1972, and what awaits us when we return.
  euang | Sep 1, 2008 |
This is the most beautiful book of Apollo-related photographs I've ever seen. Yes, it's "just" a picture book, but anyone who has any interest in Apollo will want this one on their shelf to look at again an again, and to show to others. Better than anything Ron Howard or Tom Hanks could create. ( )
  BubbaCoop | Mar 25, 2008 |
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Like most people alive between 1967 and 1972, I remember the Apollo missions.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375406344, Hardcover)

In Full Moon, one of the best science photography books ever published, Michael Light presents a voyage in images to the Moon and back. Light took NASA's master negatives of photos taken by Apollo astronauts and scanned them electronically. The resulting pictures are so vivid they seem more clear than real life. Light orders the photos sequentially, selecting the most arresting images from each mission, to create a truly cinematic experience. In the first section, depicting blastoff, you can almost feel the violent shaking of the rocket as it strains to escape Earth's gravity. Then you see the quiet stillness of weightlessness, the astronauts' view down at a perfectly silent Earth, boundless oceans contrasting with bright white clouds. A spacewalk adds vertigo--the astronaut looks fragile and very alone as he floats outside his capsule far above his home planet. Then comes the waiting, as the long voyage toward the Moon continues.

As you watch the cratered surface get closer and closer, you have no sense of scale until you see the miniscule silver and gold lander dropping gently to land on the Moon. Leaving the cluttered interior of the capsule in bulky, awkward suits, the astronauts bring delicate tracings of color--gold on the lander; red, white, and blue on the spacesuits' flag patches--to this black-and-white world. Five huge gatefolds in this section give you indescribable views of the intricately scarred surface of the Moon.

You return to space for the reuniting of the lander and capsule, and a repetition of the tedious journey back home. Finally, you watch a chaotic splashdown in the riot of colors that is Earth.

A nice section in the back of the book explains each photo with a detailed caption, and an essay by author Andrew Chaikin (A Man on the Moon) adds more written context to this stunning visual experience. The book is printed on very high-quality paper, with matte black frames for the photos and a gorgeous, wordless cover. Every space fan should have a copy. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:30 -0400)

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