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Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Photography was integral to the Apollo 11 Mission to land the first human beings on the moon on July 16, 1969. The enormity of the event, the astronauts’ heroism, and world-wide open access to the images helped make this the most famous photograph of the twentieth century. On the undercarriage of the landing craft, a video camera transmitted live footage of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon. The astronauts also used still cameras to gather documentary and scientific images. Armstrong photographed Aldrin under a black sky before a curved horizon, protected from the hostile environment of space by implements of human ingenuity. The visor of his helmet, plated in gold to protect his eyes from the bright sun, reflects the landing vehicle, the American flag, and Armstrong snapping the photograph. Two weeks later, a detail of this image appeared on the cover of a special issue of LIFE magazine.
from Touchstones of the Twentieth Century: A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame (exhibition, 2020-21)