Housten, we’ve had a problem!
2013 / With texts by Roy Flukinger, Allison Pappas, Melissa Noble and Thomas Kellner
The photographic look to the space – A dream comes true
This illustrated book contains works by the photo-artist Thomas Kellner who traveled to Houston, the USA in 2009 and accompanied the astronaut Leland Melvin at his mission to the space station ISS. There he took photographs of the Mission Control Center and experienced the start of the Space Shuttle Atlantis flying into the space. The impressive and unseen pictures can be discovered in his new book now.
“Three years ago, I presented NASA with a rather unique photographic project. By then, I was known as a German photographer who is regularly invited to display at FotoFest Houston and lends his experience to emerging professionals. (…) I remember the day with Laura at Johnson Space Center…both as lively and fun. My sheer enthusiasm, wonderment and curiosity were uncontained. Not unlike the proverbial kid in a candy store, delighted with Mission Control as the treat…and I was allowed to indulge. It was only a matter of time until I spotted the iconic “red phone” in the Apollo room. Sure enough, I grabbed it and pretended to call the President. (…) NASA is a big visual producer of images we all grew up with—the rockets, the shuttle, the space station—pictures from space; pictures of Earth…I want to give the images NASA puts into our world an artistic comment.”
(Thomas Kellner, 2013: Visions of Mission Control. In: Houston, we’ve had a problem!)
“By inviting us into Mission Control, Thomas Kellner reestablishes the humanness of space, the work and the need that have together allowed us to expand our world beyond the planet we inhabit. The energy and excitement in this endeavor is palpable. Kellner spent more than ten years trying and working to make his space project happen, and his longing can be felt in the photographs. It is the age-old human longing to map the great unknown. (…) Kellner and Melvin’s presence draws the viewer into the image, encouraging us to place ourselves in Mission Control. While this is an unusually overt inclusion of the human element, it is not the most significant. For how Kellner truly reintroduces the human element to outer space is in the space between. It is the space between the fragmented frames of the image, which we must hold together, activated and engaged through our vision. It is the space between us here and the people and machines we send out there. It is the space between images on a contact sheet, black as the void of cosmic antimatter that is the source of all matter, of all human creativity. In Kellner’s photographs the space of space is reopened, reminding us of the freedom and promise of outer space”
(Allison Pappas, 2013: The Space Between. In: Houston, we’ve had a problem!)