In March 2019 as the world went into lockdown, Ukrainian-born, Australian-based photographer Andrew Rovenko and his daughter set out on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Together they explored the quiet city streets and empty parks, rode on empty buses to new silent spaces, and found magic in mundane surroundings.
Almost three years on from when lockdown restrictions were first imposed in Melbourne, the adventures of the little astronaut are coming to an end in the culmination of The Rocketgirl Chronicles – Backyard Space Travel, the debut photo book by Rovenko.
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Originally planned to consist of 64 pages and 33 colored photos, printed on 170gsm paper, Rovenko has since increased the number of pages and photos thanks to the overwhelming success of his Kickstarter campaign.
Since Rovenko started sharing his imaginative and magical photos with the world, they have been picked up and published by magazines like Vogue and Rolling Stone, and won accolades such as the International Photography Awards 2022 and the Australian Photography Magazine Photographer of the Year 2021.
Born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine, Andrew Rovenko has called Australia home for the last 18 years. Having worked as a freelance magazine photographer, Andrew has always enjoyed the freedom of a non-commercial brief and now primarily focuses on persona projects shot on film where the joy of craftsmanship can be experienced the most.
The book's Kickstarter campaign reached its target within 24 hours, leading Rovenko to up the target so that the book can include more pages, more images, and better enable him to share more of his art with the world.
The entire project was shot on a Mamiya RZ67, one of the best medium format cameras for film fans, and the now sadly discontinued Fujifilm 400H Pro film stock. Ravenko did everything from the developing, scanning and processing of the film at his home, giving the book an even more magical DIY edge that became customary during lockdown.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Kickstarter can pledge any amount without any reward, or a set amount starting at $58 / £47 / AU$87 for the book itself, up to $166 / £135 / AU$250 which includes a copy of the book plus limited edition signed prints.
"The Rocketgirl Chronicles is a collection of memories from the worlds we discovered, the stories we found," said Ravenko, referring to life during lockdown.
"And while the lockdowns have long ended – these images will always remind us of one magical power we all have, but often forget about as we grow up. Something that can always give us the freedom to go beyond any limits… Power to imagine."
The Kickstarter ends in a week, so there's still time to support the project and secure yourself a copy of the book. Ravenko hopes to start the design process in May / June, with plans to print the book in August and have it ready to ship by September.
As with all crowdfunding campaigns, there is no guarantee that the project will be delivered on time, or delivered at all, or that the finished product or perks will be realized as initially depicted.