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September 18th, 2012

diy spacesuit for wired magazine

I’ll admit it,  I’m a science nerd at heart.

Back in the day,  I spent 4 years getting a BS in Biology/Pre-Med.  While I’ve never put that degree to use (and I’m completely ok with that),  I definitely enjoy getting to jog the memory a bit when I get an assignment with quite a bit of ‘science’ behind it.  That said,  this was one of those moments in my photo career where I couldn’t have been happier when the phone rang, and I was asked if “you want to shoot a guy building his own spacesuit.”

Meet Cameron Smith.  He’s a anthropology professor at Portland State and a contributor to Scientific America.  His childhood dream was to be an astronaut,  but poor vision killed that hope.  Most of us would just forget about those early dreams and move on to something else, but Cameron has decided to build his own ballon and spacesuit and head into space on his own.  The guy isn’t crazy.  He’s super intelligent, rational, and fun to be around.  He also said he’d never do it if he didn’t feel safe.

Walking the Pearl District in a his spacesuit.  Just another day in Portland.

Here’s a shot of him tweaking his suit which is largely comprised of parts from True Value and Ebay.

The suit inflated showing that it holds pressure.

Here assistant Dan Cronin helping Cameron get his suit ready to attach the helmet and also helping Cameron out with some water.  The suit is a two person job to get on and off,  and once you are in,  it gets warm fast.

Sister’s Coffee patrons and barista getting a glimpse of the man from space.

The vintage Russian Airforce helmet Cameron scored on ebay and customized for his suit.

It’s a workout walking in the suit. By the time we got back to his place,  there was sweat about an inch deep in his boots.

A parting shot.  I normally only have a 5 to 30 minutes with a subject,  so getting to spend the afternoon making a variety of images was a treat.

Thanks to Cameron (click for his blog), Cronin, and Kristen at Wired for the great shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment »

  1. I love this! I have seriously thought the exact same thing, that the second best thing to actually get to space is a weather balloon. I a life long dream (although I’m only 22..) My biggest money concern was the spacesuit. But if I could make one myself it would be so nice.

    Comment by Alexander Samuelsson — September 30, 2012 @ 11:49 am

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