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Iconic vintage NASA space photographs currently up for auction at artnet

NASA vintage images 1960s up for auction space
James Irwin saluting the American flag, August 1, 1971 (Image credit: NASA / Artnet Auctions)

NASA photographers during the 1960s captured intricate glimpses of our universe as well as candids of the astronaut teams who explored it. These vintage prints are now up for auction until 12 January, with biddings already as high as $26,000.

The earliest dated images on the auction site collection were captured in 1965, with the latest dated as captured in 1984. The collection is titled 'The Final Frontier: NASA Photographs from the 1960s' and is live now with limited days remaining to bid. 

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From heroic images of space-walkers and moon landings, NASA has created some of the most iconic artworks of the 20th century. These images have been printed across magazine covers and newspapers, appeared on television features and even postage stamps – now they could be yours to own!

The Final Frontier collection available now on Artnet Auctions (opens in new tab)continues to inspire awe and spark curiosity of the secrets that the universe holds. These rare and historical images cement themselves in the foundations of art and science, and even popular conspiracy theories, making expensive home decorations or treasures to pass through the generations to come.

Apollo 12 Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean taking soil samples on the Ocean of Storms, EVA 2, November, 1969 (Image credit: NASA / Artnet Auctions)
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The use of photography was said to be crucial to NASA's mission of reaching space imminently during the political arms and space race against the Soviet Union during the 1960s. NASA supposedly used 70-millimeter film camera technology, equivalent to the size of modern IMAX filming, to produce images of space.

Information courtesy of a news article (opens in new tab) written by Matthew Parciak, photography associate of Artnet Auctions, details that astronauts themselves advocated to bring cameras with them into space. The weight requirements were an issue debated and cameras were considered unnecessary baggage traveling to and from Earth. 

The “Blue Marble”, first photograph of the full Earth seen by human eyes, December 7-19, 1972 (Image credit: NASA / Artnet Auctions)
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NASA appointed Richard Underwood as chief of photography in the early 1960s, who thoroughly photographed the lunar missions and began teaching other astronaut-turned-photographers how to frame their photographs and set exposures in space.

Once NASA had fully embraced the power of photography, Hasselblad data cameras fitted with a Zeiss lens specifically designed for NASA, became one of the most important assets onboard the significant Lunar and Apollo missions.

Many works from this auction have authentic purple NASA stamps on the reverse side of the image, with a scene description and NASA identification numbers, as well as some of the larger auctioned pieces originally intended for scientific presentational use or political gifts, a rare collection to come across on the market. 

Why not grab yourself one of these phenomenal intergalactic keepsakes, holding the weight of the world in historical, political and artistic significance as well as photographic value for years to come. 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.