We can always count on our editors at Wired UK to send us unique assignments. Little did we know what was in store for the Crisman team when we agreed to travel down to Texas to shoot photos for their recent story on space health. Two days of shooting all over the Lone Star state, and a 5G spin in a centrifuge later, we had all the shots we needed.
Yes, you’re looking at the opening spread of the article, and yes, that is yours truly – looking like I’m about to lose my lunch. How did this all happen? What does it feel like to spin at 5G’s? Keep reading to find out..
First things first, before taking this assignment, the term “space health” was as foreign to us as it is to you. On our shoot, and in meeting the talented people we photographed for this assignment, we learned that this era of Virgin Galactic and space tourism is ushering in a new wave of space travelers – people just like you and I, whose bodies may not exactly be ready for the stresses of launching off the earth in a rocket.
When it comes to space health, there’s no better person to turn to than Rebecca Blue. A pioneering researcher in the field of public health, Blue has focused on space tourism and how everyday people will react to the extreme pressures that were once only reserved for astronauts.
We spent the day with Rebecca at Space Center Houston, exploring the amazing rockets and space memorabilia – not to mention making photos.
Aside from the portraits of Rebecca Blue, what was the other priority of this shoot? Take a real everyday person, subject them to the insane G-forces that future space travelers will feel, and then when they’re ready to puke, throw them in front of the camera for a portrait.
This all may seem straightforward, but the we ran into one crucial problem – we didn’t have any models who were willing to be spun around in a human sized washing machine. So when life gives us lemons, we make lemonade. I did what any supportive photo assistant and studio manger would do (what a dumb idea), I offered up myself as the subject.
Not only did I sign up for having my ugly mug printed full page in a magazine that will be on every newsstand in the UK, I also foolishly agreed to be run around in a centrifuge up to 5G’s with the sole purpose of trying to make me feel as whacked out as possible.
Let me be the first one to tell you – it was real, very, very real. And of course, there’s video evidence.
As soon as the centrifuge came to a stop, I hobbled out and made my way in front of the lens for my closeup. Once I got in front of the camera and stood still for a few minutes, the world around me kept spinning. I’ll spare you the details, but I did not feel greatÂ – something that I think translated pretty well into the photos.
What can I say, other than any member of the Crisman team will always do what’s necessary to make the best pictures we can. Some days that means hauling gear halfway up a mountain and others it means subjecting yourself to a spinning torture test to simulate a rocket takeoff. It’s all for the sake of making the picture.