Runner-up, Honorable Mention, Los Angeles Book Festival Book Award, Photography, 2013
Americans have been driven to explore beyond the horizon ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. In the twentieth century, that drive took us to the moon and inspired dreams of setting foot on other planets and voyaging among the stars. The vehicle we built to launch those far journeys was the space shuttle—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. This fleet of reusable spacecraft was designed to be our taxi to earth orbit, where we would board spaceships heading for strange new worlds. While the shuttle program never accomplished that goal, its 135 missions sent more than 350 people on a courageous journey into the unknown.
Last Launch is a stunning photographic tribute to America’s space shuttle program. Dan Winters was one of only a handful of photographers to whom NASA gave close-range access to photograph the last launches of Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Positioning automatically controlled cameras at strategic points around the launch pad—some as close as seven hundred feet—he recorded images of take-offs that capture the incredible power and transcendent beauty of the blast that sends the shuttle hurtling into space. Winters also takes us on a visual tour of the shuttle as a marvel of technology—from the crew spaces with their complex instrumentation, to the massive engines that propelled the shuttle, to the enormous vehicle assembly building where the shuttles were prepared for flight.
|Publisher:||University of Texas Press|
|Product dimensions:||9.96(w) x 12.08(h) x 0.89(d)|
About the Author
Known for the broad range of subject matter he is able to interpret, Dan Winters has had his photographs published in Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Time, Texas Monthly, Wired, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and many other national and international publications. Aperture published a book of his magazine work titled Dan Winters: Periodical Photographs. Winters has won over one hundred national and international awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, PDN, the Art Directors Club of New York, and Life, among others, as well as the prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography and a world press photo award in the arts category. In 2003, he was honored by Kodak as a photo “Icon” in their biographical “Legends” series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received this book for Christmas after seeing it in the store several weeks earlier. I wish there had been a copy available at my local store to view because had I looked at it in the store I would have not wanted this book. To begin with there are 40 – count them – FORTY pages that are completely blank! Nothing! Once I got past that disappointment, I focused on the photos that were there. The photos start off well. I will say that there are some really spectacular launch photos of STS-133 as well as some very nice detail photos of the orbiters themselves. (But again, the positioning of the photos and subsequent waste of space in the book is objectionable.) After that? You get several photos of nothing but smoke, photos of the VAB ceiling, the flag on a wall near the VAB ceiling. (I took the same photo with my handheld digital camera in September this year when I went on a tour.) Also included: The far wall of the VAB with the tip of the External Tank poking up from the bottom of the photo, used space suit gloves, several photos of various space suit components, and my personal favorite – a sealed bag of M&M’s – I believe there are 21 peanut M&M’s in the bag. I struggled to find a correlation between a bag of M&M’s and the last launches of the shuttle program. There is an oblique reference in the introduction to Russian Cosmonauts and their obsession with M&M’s, buts that’s the only correlation I found. Cynicism aside, I would have been ok with the quantity of photos and in large measure the choice of photos if not for so many blank pages. That really angered me. I feel as if I only received 2/3 of a book. The bottom line… I had high expectations for this book as a tribute to such a great, albeit flawed technical achievement. This work missed the mark. It is really a disappointment that I would not recommend to anyone.
As someone who loves to take pictures and a lover of picture looking this book was very well done. My teenage son who is into science moved the read and pictures.