Linda Poon is an assistant editor at CityLab covering science and urban technology, including smart cities and climate change. She previously covered global health and development for NPR’s Goats and Soda blog.
A new archive collects thousands of vintage NASA photos on Flickr, including candid shots from the Apollo missions.
Some shots of the Apollo missions are iconic, like the ones of Neil Armstrong taking “one small step for man” and planting the American flag on the moon’s surface. But you’ve probably never seen this shadow selfie taken by one of the astronauts on Apollo 11 back in 1965.
Or this selfie by astronaut Donn F. Eisele during the Apollo 7 mission.
Not every NASA photo taken of its Apollo missions makes it to the press—and therefore, to the public—because, well, there are tens of thousands of them.
But thanks to Kipp Teague, a space enthusiast and the founder of Project Apollo Archive, they can now be easily accessed on the popular photo-sharing site Flickr in one giant collection. Since 1999, Teague has been collecting images from NASA’s archives of its missions to the moon during the 1960s and ‘70s. While the photos on the website have usually been slightly edited, this latest collection has been posted in all its original, un-Photoshopped glory. So far, the Flickr page has more than 11,000 photos, and Teague plans to upload a total of 13,000, he told BBC.
All the photos were taken using Hasselblad cameras, which according to Wired, is the camera used to shoot some of the most iconic Apollo photos. Nestled among stunning images of Earth from the moon, intriguing photos of the moon’s surface, and revealing pictures from within the spacecraft are candid self-portraits—revelatory in a different, distinctly human, way.
The collection might make you wish NASA’s Instagram was around in the 60’s and 70’s. It would include awe-inspiring photos, sure, but also an astronaut shaving, someone’s space boots. But the archive is amazing to browse now just the same. Teague’s Flickr page has more than 20,000 followers, and his Facebook page has gotten 31,000 likes at the time of this writing.
Here’s a sampling from the collection: