Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs from a Year in Space
By Scott Kelly
One’s perspective shifts when one lives for an entire year–as Commander Scott Kelly, and no other American astronaut in history, has–in the isolating, grueling, and utterly unforgiving vacuum of space. Kelly’s photos prove that this perspective–from 250 miles above earth–while hard-won, is also almost unspeakably beautiful. He mastered the rare art of microgravity photography. Using a Nikon D4 with a long 800mm lens and a 1.4x magnifying zoom lens, he panned the camera as the shutter released in order to compensate for the space station’s velocity: 17,500 mph relative to the earth. Kelly’s artist’s eye helped make him a social media sensation, and here his photos are collected alongside his own commentary, which sets the images in their proper contexts, human and cosmic. Kelly captures sunsets, moonrises, the aurora borealis, and the luminous, hazy tapestry of the Milky Way. He presents snapshots of life and work on the International Space Station, from spacewalks to selfies. But above all–or floating amid all–he takes the earth itself as his celestial muse. Here are hurricanes, wrinkled mountains, New York City shining like a galaxy–glorious photographs that are, in themselves, a passionate argument for the preservation of our planet in the face of climate change and environmental destruction.
I started editing most of the reviews in 2016 because my PhD in English (a humblebrag if you’ve ever seen one) has to be put to use somehow. So I know “the about” all the books and how good they are, which is super cool in general but also terrible for my budget. And I’m the one insisting on the Oxford comma. It’s the hill I’ll die on. I would kidnap Lily the office dog if a) I didn’t have three cats, b) I don’t also love Heidi and Ross and would never hurt them, and c) I didn’t just make a public record of intent to commit a crime. I also help with posting articles to the websites and doing book round-up articles.