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First Fleet is an enduring photographic portrait of the early years of NASA's Space Shuttle programs. Daylight Books fall 2018.
328 backers pledged $28,117 to help bring this project to life.

About

First Fleet: NASA's Space Shuttle Program 1981-1986 project video thumbnail
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$28,117

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Proposed Design 12"x 12" book with144 pages
Proposed Design 12"x 12" book with144 pages

First Fleet Mission Patch 

The patch is a 3.5" in diameter custom embroidered design.
The patch is a 3.5" in diameter custom embroidered design.

Deluxe Card Set 

4"x 6" Deluxe Card Set printed on luxury paper
4"x 6" Deluxe Card Set printed on luxury paper

Archival Print Set 

Open Edition Archival Print Set, exclusive to this KickStarter campaign
Open Edition Archival Print Set, exclusive to this KickStarter campaign

Limited Edition Prints 

Each print will be signed and numbered on the front and produced in an edition of 30.  20 reserved for the single print reward and 10 reserved fo the two print reward. This Limited Edition is exclusive to this KickStarter campaign.
Each print will be signed and numbered on the front and produced in an edition of 30. 20 reserved for the single print reward and 10 reserved fo the two print reward. This Limited Edition is exclusive to this KickStarter campaign.

Launch Sequence Print

Discovery Mission 41D - Launch Sequence - 1984
Discovery Mission 41D - Launch Sequence - 1984

Stretch Goal

If we reach $25,000 by the end of the campaign on Sunday, I will give everyone with their reward pledge, a signed open edition print.  The image will be 7 3/8"x 9" signed on the front and printed on an 8 1/2"x11" sheet of Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper.

Discovery Mission 51A - Climb Out - 1984
Discovery Mission 51A - Climb Out - 1984

 

About The Book

First Fleet will be published by Daylight Books in Fall of 2018. Daylight is a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books. By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine art, Daylight’s uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world at large. 

The design specifications of First Fleet call for a 12"x12" book with 144 pages and approximately 70 color images, with a wrap around cover. The book will contain a foreword by former astronaut, Leland Melvin, and an introduction by photography curator and collector, W. M. Hunt. Publishing a book of this nature involves a partnership between the artist and the publishers and often requires the artist to make a financial contribution to offset the high cost of production. The funds raised through this KickStarter campaign will help ensure this book becomes an important record of a unique period in the history of manned spaceflight.

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.

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, Bibliothèque 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.

Portfolio

 

 

Portfolio Case and included images
Portfolio Case and included images

History of the Project 

Thank you for visiting my KickStarter campaign and supporting my book of photographs depicting the early years of the Space Shuttle program. The First Fleet book project began more then 30 years ago with the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. You could say this project began over 50 years ago in 1961 when I was nine years old and watched the first American go into space. As a young boy I became fascinated with man going into space and it also inspired my interest in photography. I would set my father’s Rolleiflex camera in front of the television set and photograph the launches. As I got older, I never lost my love or fascination with manned spaceflight.

By 1973 NASA had completed the Project Apollo and Skylab programs and there were no manned spaceflights for nearly 10 years, until the launch of the first Space Shuttle in 1981. I saw an opportunity for a photographic project about the Space Shuttle and I contacted NASA with my proposal. I eventually got permission to photograph the Shuttle operations at the Kennedy Space Center and in 1981 I began my five-year project photographing the Space Shuttle.

As an artist, I wanted to create images that were both majestic, symbolic, and gave the viewer a sense of what was required to fly such a complex piece of technology. The idea was to do more of a portrait of the Space Shuttle. I have always been interested in technology and how technology is used to create things. The fact the Space Shuttle was the most complex machine ever created compelled me to photograph it. The Space Shuttle, in one sense, was a piece of sculpture to me. I was intrigued by how its design created a unique looking vehicle, and its final form was determined by its function. I soon discovered, to be able to get the photographs I envisioned would require me to invent tools to capture them. Using the original Apple Macintosh computer, I designed remote camera triggering devices to start the motor driven cameras at the moment of launch. I also designed housings to protect the cameras from the harsh Florida environment. I soon realized this project was bigger and more complex then anything I had ever done before, and to do it properly it would require many years of dedication.

The project was never finished. It ended with the Challenger accident in 1986. It was hard to continue the work after witnessing this accident, and I decided to set the project aside. For more the twenty-five years these negatives were kept in storage and never printed. Shuttle flights resumed in 1988 and the last Shuttle mission was launched in 2011. With the program now part of history, I was encouraged by friends and colleagues to revisit the project. So, in the summer of 2013 I decided to bring the negatives out of storage and begin scanning them and making prints.

As I scanned the negatives and rediscovered these photographs, I began to think about what compelled me to make them. I think what captured my imagination the most about the early days of manned spaceflight was the fact that every mission did something that had never been done before. Every spaceflight seemed to be the first at something, the first American in space, the first American to orbit the earth, the first American to walk in space, the first man on the moon. And with the Space Shuttle, the firsts continued. The Space Shuttle was the first reusable manned spacecraft, the first to launch and retrieve satellites while in a space, the first to launch an American woman into space. And, between 1981 and 1986 NASA had four operational Space Shuttles, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. Those four vehicles comprised the first fleet of manned spacecraft, hence the title for the book.

I see these photographs as a time capsule of a unique time in the history of manned spaceflight. Between 1981 and 1986, the Shuttle program went from an R&D program to a fully operational commercial space program. Those early years were filled with excitement and optimism about the future of space travel. With every launch I witnessed, it felt like I had a front row seat to the future. It was this excitement I hoped to capture in these photographs. The same excitement I felt when I was a little kid watching Alan Shepard and John Glenn go into space. First Fleet is my way of paying homage to all the men and women who built and flew the Space Shuttle. And how they inspired me to live a creative life.

First Fleet has been a long time in the making, more then 30 years, and now with your support I will be able to create the book I have dreamed of. Thank you for visiting my KickStarter campaign and please share this on your social media or with anyone you think may be interested.

Special Thank You

I would like to thank Brad Temkin, Debra Klomp Ching, Michael Itkoff, and James Davis for their help and suggestions on this KickStarter campaign.

www.firstfleetbook.com

 

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk I see for this project would be that it doesn't succeed in getting funded. The other risk, once funded, may be delays in the publication that are beyond our control. Daylight is a premier publisher of fine art books, with a talented experienced staff. I'm very confident they will deliver the book by its publication date in the fall of 2018. I will keep all contributors apprised on the books progress with regular updates.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    First Fleet Mission Patch

    Every US manned spaceflight since Project Gemini in the sixties has had a mission patch to commemorate the mission. In that spirit we are offering our First Fleet mission patch to commemorate the publishing of the book. The patch is a 3.5" in diameter custom embroidered design. This reward is limited to 250.

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    Deluxe Card Set

    Set of deluxe cards depicting each of the original 4 Space Shuttles, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. These 4"x 6" cards are printed on 600 gsm - extra thick Mohawk Superfine® luxury paper. This reward is limited to 150 sets.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Signed Book

    You will receive a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in book. This reward is limited to 100.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    2 Signed Books

    You will receive 2 signed copies of First Fleet and acknowledgement in book. This reward is limited to 50.

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    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    Signed Book with Launch Sequence Print

    Discovery Mission 41D - Launch Sequence - 1984

    You will receive a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in book along with the Discovery Mission 41D – Launch Sequence open edition archival pigment print. The print is exclusive to this KickStarter campaign. The print is 15.25"x22" with 24 images of the launch sequence. It is signed on the front and printed on Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. Image on left.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Signed Book and Archival Print Set

    Atlantis - Crew Compartment - Kennedy Space Center - 1984
    Challenger Mission 41B - Climb Out - 1984
    Discovery Mission 41G - Shoreline Cape Road - 1985
    Discovery - Sunset Pad 39A - 1984

    You will receive a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in book along with a set of 4 signed open edition archival pigment prints. The print set is exclusive to this KickStarter campaign. Each image is 13"x11" signed on the front and printed on a 15.25"x13" sheet of Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. Images on left.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed Book and Limited Edition Print

    Challenger - Sunrise - 1985

    You will receive this Limited Edition print, exclusive to this KickStarter campaign, along with a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in the book. The image will be signed and numbered on the front. This image is done in an edition of 30, with 20 reserved for this reward and 10 reserved for the two print reward. It will be an 18"x15" archival pigment print on a 20.5"x17" sheet of Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. Image on left. This reward is limited to 20.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed Book and Limited Edition Print

    Discovery Mission 51A - Launch Complex 39A Remote Site 1 - 1984

    You will receive this Limited Edition print, exclusive to this KickStarter campaign, along with a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in the book. The image will be signed and numbered on the front. This image is done in an edition of 30, with 20 reserved for this reward and 10 reserved for the two print reward. It will be an 18"x15" archival pigment print on a 20.5"x17" sheet of Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. Image on left. This reward is limited to 20.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Signed Book and 2 Limited Edition Prints

    Challenger – Sunrise – 1985
    Discovery Mission 51A - Launch Complex 39A Remote Site 1 - 1984

    You will receive both Limited Edition prints, exclusive to this KickStarter campaign, along with a signed copy of First Fleet and acknowledgement in the book. The images will be signed and numbered on the front. Each image is done in an edition of 30, with 10 reserved for this reward and 20 reserved for the single print rewards. They will be an 18"x15" archival pigment print on a 20.5"x17" sheet of Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. Images on left. This reward is limited to 10.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Portfolio

    In 2014 I produced a portfolio of Space Shuttle photographs. The portfolio comes in a beautiful hand made clamshell box with inside dimensions of 16” w x 20” h x 1 ⅝” d. The portfolio consists of 10 images with a title sheet. The images are archival pigment prints, printed on Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk 310gsm Baryta paper. The image size is 10.5”x12.6”. Each print is signed on the front and over matted on 16”x20” archival museum board. The portfolio is done in an edition of 12 with 1 Artist Proof and retails for $7500. For this KickStarter campaign, I am offering portfolio number 3 of12 for $5000. Included with this reward will be a signed copy of First Fleet and with your acknowledgement in the book. This reward is only available in the United States and I will provide shipping cost. Portfolio images on left. This reward is limited to 1.

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Funding period

- (35 days)