Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Neil Armstrong (1930 – 2012)

with 20 comments

Neil Armstrong, a modern explorer and (more importantly for us at IP) the first photographer on the Moon, is dead, aged 82. 

As the primary photographer of the first successful manned lunar mission, Neil Armstrong appeared very infrequently in the photos he took on the Moon [1]. Yet, he was everywhere on the Sea of Tranquility during that short 2 hour 36 minutes sojourn; a bootprint here, a reflection there, and his larger-than-life shadow intimately looming behind the viewer in many photos.

Two men were equipped with four special Hasselblad 70mm cameras, two 16mm data acquisition cameras and one 35mm close-up stereoscopic camera. Altogether, they took 232 color and 107 black and white photographs on the surface of the moon. The cameras were left on the Moon to make room for lunar samples. The Hasselblads were fitted with a reseau plate — a piece of engraved glass between the lens and the film that add cross-hatches to the photos — in order to help NASA analyze the films later by creating a grid. In that event, many of the frames remained in NASA archives, until a project to digitize them was completed in 2004.

As for Neil Armstrong, I will send him off by paraphrasing Richard Nixon/William Safire:

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood. Neil Armstrong was one such man.

In his exploration, he stirred the people of the world to feel as one, and bound more tightly the brotherhood of man.

He will be mourned by his family and friends; he will be mourned by his nation; he will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send one of her sons into the unknown.


[1] Hopefully, I won’t die of heart attack in next couple of days as I fume over news agencies mislabeling Buzz Aldrin as Neil Armstrong in those lunar photos. 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

August 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm

20 Responses

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  1. I remember my Dad calling me in from outside. He sat me down in front of the TV and simply said “Watch this. It’s history in the making.”

    I was 7.

    I just sat there and watched in awe. Later, I went outside and looked at the Moon feeling incredibly inspired to want to fly.


    August 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

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