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Last Launch: Discovery, Endeavour, Atlantis Hardcover – November 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"One of the aspects of Dan Winters' photography that I've really enjoyed throughout the years is his fascination with science. Although he's well-known for his celebrity portraits, he also does a fair amount of work for science magazines like Discover, where he also shows off his penchant for set building. But even with this knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised to find his new book Last Launch, which chronicles the last days of NASA's Space Shuttle program with his special access - let's call it "court-side seats," for lack of a better term." Allen Murabayashi,, November 21st 2012 "Some may argue that there are many more photos of those final shuttle launches available for free online, including many by NASA itself. And that's true: if all you want to do is gorge on launch photos, the Internet is happy to accommodate you. However, Last Launch is a book of art: a presentation of photos, some conventional and others not, that recall those final missions and revere the vehicles that flew them. And "revere" is not too strong of a word: in the introduction, Winters recalls going inside Discovery and likening the experience to a visit to a cathedral. "I felt the presence of the souls that had passed through her during the thirty years and millions of miles that she had traveled," he writes. "It too felt like a spiritual place to me." It's in that frame of mind - reverence of a fantastic, yet flawed, spaceship - that this book should be kept." - Jeff Foust, editor and publisher of The Space Review

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (November 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029273963X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292739635
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.9 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Carson on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting with baited breath for the release of this book. I finally saw it in Barnes and Noble today. I spent over an hour looking through every page and I didn't want to put it down. I have been a NASA geek and a space shuttle fan all my life. I have collected photography books for 25 years. Never have I seen a book that more thoroughly chronicles a subject such as the shuttles in such an interesting way. Anyone who is a fan of the space program, young or old, anyone who appreciates true artistic talent when it comes to photographs, will appreciate this book. Anyone who owns a fine art photo book, understands that they generally include spreads (two photos matched to be veiwed together) and single images with a blank facing page. This is nothing new. But for anyone with discerning taste and a fine eye for detail, this book will leave you salivating. Since the shuttle program no longer exists, this book will surely become the standard historical photographic record of something that was once a point of national pride. This will be what we show our grand kids when we talk about the shuttles. Bravo Dan Winters. Thanks for caring enough to devote your time to this so that the rest of us can sit back and recall a stellar time in the history of the U.S. space program. I don't mean to spoil the surprise, but I will be ordering this book, not only for myself, but for everyone of my freinds and family members this year. So Merry Christmas!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Knapper on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, I received the book today. I ordered this book a year ago in November, so it had been a long time coming. It is big at 12" long and 10" wide. There is a little bit of text, mostly at the beginnig (including some text from Mark Kelly), but most of the book is pictures of the shuttle taking up almost the entire page. The pictures are beautiful, so clear that you can read the numbers on the tiles. There is a picture of the aft-end of the shuttle with all three engines removed which shows spectacular detail of the insides of that area. There are also stand-alone pictures of the engines and other elements such as the control console at Mission Control. As I was looking through the book, I noticed blank pages in the book; I thought maybe I had a mis-printed book. At the end of the book, however, there are thumbnails of each page, telling you what you were looking at, and it shows the blank pages. I just found that a strange choice. I would have liked the author to use all of that real-estate to display other pictures. However, that does not detract from the overall book. The pictures are amazing, and it is a must for any Shuttle fan.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hans Reinhardt VINE VOICE on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I checked this out at the book store last night and I could not have been any more impressed. It's like Mr. Winters knew exactly the types of things I would want to see up close and personal about the orbiters, the facilities and all of the infrastructure around the Space Shuttle program -- but mostly there are just tons of incredible photos of the launches themselves, filled the rocket's red glare, towering pillars of noxious gasses... if you think you might like this book you are going to LOVE it.

I will say though -- if you are looking for "bang for you buck", then there is an older DK book on the Shuttle from about ten years ago which is loaded with stellar photographs, not just launches, and tons of first-person narratives by the astronauts themselves. This book here is more of a strictly photographic book by an outsider, covering the most showy but by no means the only stunning aspect of the Space Shuttle program (which goes almost without saying).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spencer Q Pennyworth on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift but will need to order another for myself. This is full of incredible images that are sure to become iconic in remembering the shuttle program. Dan Winters has been able to document these last launches, as well as existing memorabilia of the program, while slathering on a thick layer of bold beautiful art. I love this book, and I love Dan Winters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Sanchez on September 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
(nb: I received a Review Copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley)

Dan Winters's "Last Launch: Discovery, Endeavour, Atlantis" is a wonderful book, a photographic record of NASA's final three Space Shuttle launches.

I do not deny that I've always been a space nerd. Growing up on Florida's West Coast, I remember going out in the front yard, watching night-time Apollo launches. The same was true for the shuttles. There was a delay, of course. When they were televised, we could watch the actual lift off from Cape Canaveral, then walk outside and look to the east-northeast, and soon enough, there was the bright orange flame as another space mission commenced.

Dan Winters relates his own story of watching the Apollo 11 launch on TV. Something struck the same chord in both of us: there was something sacrosanct in strapping astronauts into a giant, controlled bomb, then flinging them into space.

The photos Winters shares are remarkable. Some of them amazed me with their stark clarity, the fine shadings of light on an external fuel tank, or the chiaroscuro of the shuttle's exhaust trail.

Especially intriguing is the method Winters used to capture multiple images from multiple angles. He set up cameras--up to nine of them on some shoots--and had them pre-focused and ready to go by launch time. They turned on shortly before launch. When the sound reached the camera, an ingenious sound-based trigger fired the cameras at five frames per second. Each of these cameras stood on a tripod, which was weighted and strapped down to hold it steady.

In addition to the beautiful launch pictures, Mr. Winters was allowed to take pictures inside the shuttle. The cockpit technology is daunting.

There is some good commentary here, too.
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