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A picture worth a thousand (space)ships
July 14, 2011 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Father and son "bookend" the first and last shuttle launch with this photo, which is a thing of beauty. The son, Chris Bray, described it as "[t]he picture we waited 30 years to complete." In an interview, Bray said that they almost didn't make it due to delayed flights and other problems. Quite a lot of comments in his Flickr page (where the photo was originally posted) like the changing technology, comparison of film vs digital photography, keeping a close father-son bond over the years, and whether he was wearing the same shirt or not. (previously and previously)
posted by pleasebekind (26 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heights: they will be swapped.
posted by Beardman at 12:30 PM on July 14, 2011


I don't know what bothers me more: That he didn't angle his face properly, or that it bothers me so much that he didn't angle his face properly.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 PM on July 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I just saw a photo with a similar concept.
posted by muddgirl at 12:38 PM on July 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's such a distinctive difference between the look of those photographs. Film, as well as what seems to be dawn/dusk lighting, makes for such a classier look.

Or maybe it was just the haircuts.
posted by Silverdragonanon at 12:41 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just saw a photo with a similar concept.

Wow, that's a lot more endearing that I would have expected based just on the description. It's positively adorable.
posted by penduluum at 12:46 PM on July 14, 2011


No wristwatch on the dad in the 2nd photo... that's a sign of the times.
posted by Jahaza at 12:54 PM on July 14, 2011


Yeah, why not bother to angle your face?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:03 PM on July 14, 2011


There's such a distinctive difference between the look of those photographs. Film, as well as what seems to be dawn/dusk lighting, makes for such a classier look.

I assure you, it's purely a matter of contrast & lighting. There are reasons to shoot film, but with a decent modern SLR, there really is no magical film look that's unique and super-special - certainly not when you're doing full color, not intentionally distorting anything, etc. The first photo is a lot better, but none of the reasons are inherent to film vs digital - the composition is better, it's less cluttered, there are fewer almost-in-focus elements closer to the foreground, the look on the kid's face is (unavoidably) much more natural than on his future self, and - most of all - the light is much better. The importance of time of day, cloud cover, etc, to the subjective quality of outdoor photographs is, I think, vastly underestimated by people who don't shoot a lot.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:27 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also.
posted by maxwelton at 1:47 PM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just saw a photo with a similar concept.

That kid looks so much like my cousin it's downright creepy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:53 PM on July 14, 2011


See also.

You could just as well title that If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It...
posted by vorfeed at 2:02 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why but this photo makes me really sad.
posted by zeoslap at 2:08 PM on July 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I just saw a photo with a similar concept.

Isn't he beautiful? Oh, bless him! Look! He knows his mummy! Hallo, Norbert!
posted by Kabanos at 2:16 PM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't he beautiful? Oh, bless him! Look! He knows his mummy! Hallo, Norbert!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:07 PM on July 14, 2011


I'm not sure why but this photo makes me really sad.

There is a really peculiar melancholy or something attached to this photo, I agree. I can't even describe what it makes me feel, but it's kind of on the verge of weepy for the loss of something, combined with an odd touch of nostalgia or ....

It's a great photo, but it makes me sad, too.
posted by hippybear at 3:14 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The last shuttle flight felt to me like the end of an empire, a definitive something you could point to and say "we used to do this, we can't do it any more."
posted by maxwelton at 3:18 PM on July 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, it makes me sad, or at least melancholy, because, having grown up in Cocoa Beach, I could have completed exactly the same pair of photos, with my dad, but that's just not the sort of thing that it would occur to me to do.
posted by gurple at 3:20 PM on July 14, 2011


I think part of why it makes me feel sad is that it makes me feel old.
posted by snofoam at 4:34 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The last shuttle flight felt to me like the end of an empire, a definitive something you could point to and say "we used to do this, we can't do it any more."

It's a funny world we live in, isn't it?

There are these sectors of our lives that have progressed more or less normally... stuff now is sort of science-fictional, but in the ways we might have thought in 1970. Medicine, say. And there are the vast realms of computing and networking that wouldn't just seem like complete science fiction to almost everyone in 1970, they'd be so SF-nal as to be just... alien.

But there are these big rafts of life where we just decided not to give a shit any more. Space exploration the most obvious, but even stuff as boring as repairing bridges. All these things we used to do, and used to build, that we can't even be bothered to maintain now.

It's weird, and mostly depressing. I'm gonna go read Neuromancer now and laugh at how primitive their future-computers were.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:55 PM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Part of me always wanted to see the world crash into a dystopian nightmare. Part of me is now sad to see that this is how the future ends; not with a bang, but with a whimper.
posted by The otter lady at 5:24 PM on July 14, 2011


Killer photo for sure, but what's with all the gloom?

This is not "the future ending" or anything of the sort.
posted by chronkite at 6:40 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> The last shuttle flight felt to me like the end of an empire, a definitive something you could point to and say "we used to do this, we can't do it any more."

Very similar thoughts occurred to me watching STS-135 launch. When the Romans left Britain did they feel like this? Did they imagine it was just temporary, that they would be back again in a few years when the situation at home improved? I'm not talking about the actualities of the situation, that will be for history to judge, just the sentiments of those involved.
posted by adamt at 10:34 PM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


We've been here before.
posted by chrominance at 5:07 PM on July 15, 2011


Man... The 70's ruled. Carl Sagan, James Burke... my god. We use to have a future.

Thanks, chrominance.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 6:01 PM on July 15, 2011


There is a really peculiar melancholy or something attached to this photo, I agree. I can't even describe what it makes me feel, but it's kind of on the verge of weepy for the loss of something, combined with an odd touch of nostalgia or ....

It's a great photo, but it makes me sad, too.


...

I think part of why it makes me feel sad is that it makes me feel old.

We're all going to die.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 AM on July 16, 2011


I seriously doubt that the reason this photo makes me feel sad is because it triggers my sense of mortality. I have a pretty good sense of that all the time, and generally am not one of those who seeks to escape the fact that all life ends with death. I've long felt that the most healthy way to approach life is to see death as part of it and try to live to the fullest now because there are no do-overs.
posted by hippybear at 4:28 AM on July 16, 2011


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