Vincent Fournier could probably get his hands on the nuclear launch codes if he wanted to. He’d just ask nicely. After all, this is the French photographer who somehow managed to talk his way into notoriously secretive space centres across the world – NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency and the European Southern Observatory – for his series Space Utopia. NASA even let him have a peek at their confidential SLS rocket project (no doubt after the requisite pleases and thank yous).
In addition to what must be strong powers of persuasion, Fournier isn’t too bad with a camera, either. Instead of delivering a straight-up, straight-faced history, Space Utopia takes a few liberties with its documentary style to strike at the aesthetics, the theatre and the inescapable weirdness that’s wrapped up in our perceptions of space. Whether he’s capturing the early heydays of the 1960s or our current tentative steps towards a manned mission to Mars, Fournier has a knack for images that seem surreal, remote, almost otherworldly, but also strangely familiar – cinematic stills from a movie that doesn’t exist but we swear we’ve seen.
Grab a copy of the book from Noeve.