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Full Moon Hardcover – November 5, 2002
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In Full Moon, one of the best science photography books ever published, Michael Light presents a voyage in images to the Moon and back. Light took NASA's master negatives of photos taken by Apollo astronauts and scanned them electronically. The resulting pictures are so vivid they seem more clear than real life. Light orders the photos sequentially, selecting the most arresting images from each mission, to create a truly cinematic experience. In the first section, depicting blastoff, you can almost feel the violent shaking of the rocket as it strains to escape Earth's gravity. Then you see the quiet stillness of weightlessness, the astronauts' view down at a perfectly silent Earth, boundless oceans contrasting with bright white clouds. A spacewalk adds vertigo--the astronaut looks fragile and very alone as he floats outside his capsule far above his home planet. Then comes the waiting, as the long voyage toward the Moon continues.
As you watch the cratered surface get closer and closer, you have no sense of scale until you see the miniscule silver and gold lander dropping gently to land on the Moon. Leaving the cluttered interior of the capsule in bulky, awkward suits, the astronauts bring delicate tracings of color--gold on the lander; red, white, and blue on the spacesuits' flag patches--to this black-and-white world. Five huge gatefolds in this section give you indescribable views of the intricately scarred surface of the Moon.
You return to space for the reuniting of the lander and capsule, and a repetition of the tedious journey back home. Finally, you watch a chaotic splashdown in the riot of colors that is Earth.
A nice section in the back of the book explains each photo with a detailed caption, and an essay by author Andrew Chaikin (A Man on the Moon) adds more written context to this stunning visual experience. The book is printed on very high-quality paper, with matte black frames for the photos and a gorgeous, wordless cover. Every space fan should have a copy. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA-A San Francisco artist and photographer has pulled together 129 stunning, black-and-white and color photographs from 32,000 previously unavailable pictures of the Apollo missions. He has lovingly put them together to form one continuous moon voyage. The photos, mostly taken by astronauts, show fiery, explosive liftoffs; gorgeous, striking earthscapes; astronauts floating by their single umbilical cords in space; hauntingly beautiful moon shots; and many alternate shots recognizably from the first moon landing. An essay and a section explaining when, where, and by whom all the photos were shot are included. A terrific addition for libraries that need tie-ins with science, photography, history, or creative curricula.
John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
My only disappointment was that my copy arrived with the dustjacket all scraped up and dented, and the edges of many of the pages were mangled, so I had to return it. The book still gets 5 stars because that is no fault of the publisher, or Michael Light. I'll buy it again when I can find a good copy at a "bricks & mortar" bookstore; it's worth the extra $$.
If you're looking for a very comprehensive lunar mission day-to-day, interviews with astronauts or a nice reproduction of "that" picture, this is not definitely your book.
But if you want, for a moment, walk on the moon, travel outside the Earth and dance with the stars, then buy it.
The effect that the compositor--that's really what Michael Light is here--is after is a little on the arty side, though. For instance, he strips out most, if not all, color on the Moon (which is notoriously difficult to reproduce--there's a good discussion of the problem on the Lunar Surface Journal online), leaving only back and white tonal ranges. That's not a complaint but rather a simple observation about the compositor's intent.
Also, the sequence of images is really taking you to and from the Moon, with little regard for the proper order of the various Apollo missions -- six in all (Apollos 11 thru 17, minus Apollo 13, which orbited but never landed) -- and their unique sets of photographs. But that works well here, I must admit. In this regard, it's LIKE a book version of the fantastic film, and now a Criterion Collection DVD, called For All Mankind (directed by Al Reinert).
Note that there are two editions of this book on Amazon. One is 11.7 square and the other is 8.5 square--or about 25 percent smaller. In a book like this, that's a significant difference. But is the larger trim worth twice the price? Well, that all depends on you. I think the larger book is better, but I've also bought the smaller book to give away as gifts, since I got an amazing deal on them--just under $10 in a bin somewhere. I did buy the original when it came out, and it remains one of my favorite books of photography and space.