Marking the 50th anniversary of the last human voyage to the moon, Wright and LAMA are pleased to present One Giant Leap for Mankind: Vintage Photographs from the Victor Martin-Malburet Collection, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Project Apollo (1961-1972).

This stunning collection comprises more than 300 original historic photographs from Project Apollo, the NASA program responsible for placing the first humans on the surface of the moon. Meticulously researched and collected over the course of 25 years by Victor Martin-Malburet, each image represents extraordinary feats of human exploration, imagination, and collaboration, and many of those being offered have never been published.

From the only photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon to a rare print of The Blue Marble – the most reproduced photograph in human history – to the first selfie in space, One Giant Leap bursts with unprecedented images that invite reflection on the evolving legacy of Project Apollo and its resounding impacts on art, science, and human potential.

The Apollo astronauts are often presented as great scientists and heroes, but rarely are they hailed as some of the most significant photographers of all time.

Victor Martin-Malburet

A World of 'Firsts'

If you get great photos, they’ll live forever...Your key to immortality is in the quality of the photograph and nothing else.

Richard Underwood, NASA Chief of Photography


the rising of the earth above the horizon of the moon as seen from lunar orbit

One Giant Leap spans the first-ever earthrise taken by the robotic spacecraft Lunar orbiter I in August 1966 to the first earthrise witnessed by humans, captured by William Anders of Apollo 8 in 1968, to the last earthrise, shot by Ronald Evans of Apollo 17 in December 1972.

The Photography of Another World: The Artistic Heritage of Apollo (1961-1972)

Victor Martin-Malburet

This essay was featured as the introduction for the exhibition catalog accompanying Lune: Du Voyage Réel aux Voyages Imaginaires at Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, April –July 2019. Translated from its original French. 

Before the invention of photography, men relied on language, writing, painting and other means of representation to report on historical events or pioneering explorations. It has been almost two hundred years since photography has allowed us to seize the light of these events and freeze them over time. It is also photography that has allowed astronomy to develop, by capturing light information hitherto unavailable and by establishing close ties with space from its inception.

In May 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space, while President Kennedy announced that the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” The most disruptive period of exploration in the history of mankind was launched, which was to conclude by the landing of six Apollo missions from July 1969 to December 1972. The astronauts brought back treasures from their voyages to the unknown: samples of lunar rock, scientific data, historic words, and photographs.

Looking Good: Selfies & Portraits in Space

A New World: The Lunar Surface

The Wide Angle: Space Panoramas

Of particular visual significance are the extremely rare panoramas that Apollo astronauts were tasked with creating. Made both in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface, these composite series were made at great pains to the astronauts; they were wearing helmets, the cameras were mounted on the chests of the spacesuits, and, without the benefit of a viewfinder, crews were trained how to point, shoot, turn slightly, point and shoot again until a panorama of overlapping photographs was generated that could later be hand-assembled into David Hockney-like panoramic collages. During the last three missions they even used a telephoto lens to shoot distant features.

One Giant Leap for Mankind

Preview / Chicago
21 – 28 October 2022
10 am – 4 pm, Mon – Fri

Auction / Chicago 
28 October 2022
11 am central

Additional Information
312 563 0020

“On the evening of July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong set his foot on the lunar surface, several hundred million people witnessed on their television screens an epoch-making step in the evolution of man. The importance of this event can only be compared with that moment in evolution when aquatic life came crawling up onto the land.

Since the dawn of history man had been chained to this planet. No matter what the species of Homo sapiens would accomplish, it seemed to be preordained to share the ultimate fate of its earthly abode — extinction. With the flight of Apollo 11 the fateful chain was broken. For man now showed that he could land on other heavenly bodies and that he could live and work there. This first step of a manned landing on another planet in our solar system marks the beginning of man’s long-dreamed-of journey into outer space. In time, this journey will take man to other, more distant planets and perhaps eventually to other planetary systems as well. When this is achieved, sometime during the five billion years remaining to life on Earth, the human race will have achieved immortality.”

—Wernher von Braun, chief architect of the Apollo Saturn project

The masterminds of Project Apollo: Wernher von Braun, President Kennedy, NASA’s head James Webb and top NASA officials at Cape Canaveral, NASA [Project Apollo], 16 November 1963, estimate: $1,000–1,500

Apollo was not the equivalent of an American pyramid, some idle monument to technology, but more of a Rosetta Stone, a key to unlocking dreams as yet undreamed.

Eugene Cernan, the last man on the Moon

References & Resources


Piers Bizony, Moonshots: 50 Years of NASA Space Exploration Seen Through Hasselblad Cameras (Minneapolis: Voyageur Press, 2017) [cited as Bizony].

Simon Phillipson, Apollo VII-XVII (JDFS, 2016) [cited as Phillipson].

Andrew Chaikin, A Man on the Moon: Lunar Explorers (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1999) [cited as Chaikin, A Man on the Moon].

Andrew Chaikin, Space: A History of Space Exploration in Photographs (London: Carleton Publishing Group, 2002) [cited as Chaikin, Space].

Andrew Chaikin, Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences (New York: Viking Studio, 2009) [cited as Chaikin, Voices].

© All texts by Victor Martin-Malburet