Spacewalking was nothing new by the time space shuttles began to soar. In March 1965, the Russian Alexei Leonov became the first person to take a “walk” in space in an exercise that nearly went wrong. Three months later, American Ed White followed his lead, but both were tied to their spacecraft.
It was left for two astronauts on the shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless and Robert Stewart, to try an untied version. With Robert Gibson taking photos from inside the shuttle with a Hasselblad, McCandless achieved this on February 7th 1984, becoming the first “human satellite” traveling at some 17,500 miles per hour.
He reached a distance of 320 feet, with the azure Earth 150 nautical miles below, but McCandless spent just a little more than an hour free-flying. Even today, spacesuits are awkward, unwieldy and uncomfortable; while spacewalks typically lasted no longer than three hours, the astronauts are often trapped in their suits for as long as 10 hours, and had to drink through straws.
Although McCandless’ photo inspired many sci-fi fantasies, his spacewalk would amount to nothing more than a stunt. After McCandless and Stewart, four other astronauts on later shuttles flew untethered, but after 1984, NASA stopped producing the nitrogen-powered jet pack (in that inelegant space jargon, known as Manned Maneuvering Unit). The shuttle’s robotic arm precluded the need for such daring spacewalks.
Today, a modified version of the jetpack is worn only as a emergency backup during spacewalks. It was smaller but by no ways capable of reaching the distances previously travelled.
And there in a way is a metaphor for the American space programme.
Photographer Stephen Shames began his project shooting on East Tremont Ave in the Bronx while on assignment for Look Magazine in 1977. The magazine went under while Shames was on assignment, but he continued with the project for two decades, sometimes staying on the block for weeks, sometimes visiting only once or twice a year. Accompanying the photographs is the riveting story of Bronx born Martin Dones, who Shames follows from childhood to manhood. Dones is an exception, a young man who manages to escape a violent life to successfully raise his own family.
The electronic book Bronx Boys is available from FotoEvidence Press. The Ebook Bronx Boys has the look and feel of a physical book– the high-resolution images that can be viewed full screen, with a feature allows the viewer to zoom into details without loss of image quality. Most of the photographs in Bronx Boys are published by FotoEvidence Press for the first time.
"The tangle of ropes and spars in this photograph was once the Endurance, the ship which Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 used on the ‘Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition’ of 1914. The object of their voyage was to land in Antarctica and cross the continent via the South Pole. Australian Frank Hurley was the photographer.”
In 1982, at his minimalist “office”, Diana Walker captured Steve Jobs, who remembered, “This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.”