Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blue Marble







Five hours after their launch into the Apollo 17 mission, the crew of the spacecraft took a photo of our humble planet. It wasn't the first photo of Earth seen from space, but it was spectacular in its beauty and familiarity.  There's Africa, Saudi Arabia and Madagascar suprisingly huge amid all the cloud swirls. Apparently, there's a cyclone visible in the Indian Ocean, a storm that brought flooding and havoc to Tamil Nadu in India several days later. 



Apollo 17 crew, Blue Marble (1972)




In Night View,  Berenice Abbott's lens becomes a bird's eye over a Manhattan cityscape that is pure magic. We are floating high above the cacophony of honking horns, sirens, squealing elevated trains, wailing musicians and buzzing neon lights.


Berenice Abbott, Night View (1932)



How does a thing so complex, with parts so at odds with itself, with so many random bits and pieces, so much noise and drama and absurdity, and devastation and need and mystery....how can it even function?  It helps to see a bigger picture....with a telescopic lens if possible.  How is Night View like Blue Marble?  They are awe-inspiring. Awe is a good way to start a new year.


Happy New Year!



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