John Chakeres' First Fleet began more than 30 years ago with the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. He saw an opportunity for a long-term photographic project to document the Space Shuttle and contacted NASA with his proposal. NASA granted Chakeres permission to photograph the Shuttle operations at the Kennedy Space Center, and he began his five-year project capturing the sensational launch and landing operations of the four original space shuttles. These never-before-seen images represent a unique time in the history of human spaceflight which was filled with excitement and optimism about the future of space travel. The images are majestic and symbolic and give the viewer a sense of what was required to fly such a complex piece of technology. First Fleet' publication coincides with the 60th anniversary of NASA, October 2018.
John A. Chakeres has been an artist working in photography more then 40 years. He has published three books of his photographs, Traces: An Investigation in Reason, 1977, D'art Objects: A Collaboration. 1978, and Random New York: An Unscripted Walk, 2008. His photographs have been included in numinous exhibitions and publications and are in a number of permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Biblioth que Nationale de France, Paris, FR, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA and Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN. He has taught photography, printmaking, and digital imaging at Ohio University, Columbus College of Art and Design, and Columbus State Community College. Leland Melvin is a former NFL draftee who became an engineer and a NASA astronaut logging more than 565 hours aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Melvin was appointed the head of NASA Education in 2010 and served as co-chair of a White House STEM task force. He has hosted the television series "Child Genius" and has been a judge on the TV series "BattleBots." In 2017 HarperCollins published his first memoir, Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances. W.M. Hunt/Dancing Bear is a photography collector, curator and consultant who lives and works in New York. Hunt has been collecting, looking at and talking about photography for over 40 years. His two biggest book and exhibition projects have been "The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious" and "Hunt's Three Ring Circus - Photographs of American Groups before 1950." He writes, teaches, lectures, does panels, reviews portfolios, and judges competitions. He serves on the board of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and was the founding partner of the gallery Hasted Hunt.
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