For the Apollo missions NASA wanted high quality visual records of their Moon exploration and naturally turned to Hasselblad as the camera manufacturer they knew could provide the means. The brief was to deliver a robust camera that could operate in a hostile dusty vacuum and be used without drama by astronauts wearing cumbersome space suits. The camera Hasselblad delivered, the 500 EL Data Camera HEDC was essentially a 500 without a view finder but with a motor drive and a 200 shot magazine.
The brief to the astronauts was to use the film stock, stow the exposed film still in the magazines first in the Lunar Module and subsequently in the Command Module bringing the exposed films home to be developed but leaving the cameras behind on the Lunar surface to save weight and space.
There were 16 cameras produced in all – there are said to be four on earth but there might be more. Everyone agrees however that there are more collecting dust on the surface of the moon than there are being regularly dusted on Earth. At least one of those on earth made the round trip in the Command Module at least once and was used to take about 400 shots by James Irwin on the Apollo 15 mission. This one – probably the one in the best condition despite its mileage – was bought for about $1 million by a Japanese businessman and collector, Mr Fujiwsawa, founder of the Japanese retail chain Yodobashi Camera, at an auction in Vienna in March 2014. Two of the remaining three are owned by Hasselblad and one by NASA. Always Earth bound these three are the cameras the Apollo astronauts trained with.
One of the pair owned by Hasselblad was electronically modelled for WeAdmire by Yukio Miyamoto. He has very carefully reproduced the minutiae of the scars of use and abuse that comes from being handled by Apollo astronauts made less dextrous through wearing spacesuits.
The files for each view of of the model Yukio constructed were about 1.5 gigabyes in size and each is reproduced on the t shirts at 720 dpi. Our t shirts admire the camera and admire the astronauts who man handled it. This is a singular artefact with an extraordinary provenance beautifully reproduced by one of the world’s most accomplished electronic illustrators – what is there not to admire? The mission was extraordinary, the men were extraordinary the camera is extraordinary and Yukio’s electronic illustration measures up. Admire the gamut of exceptional human endeavour, wear our Yukio Miyamoto Electric Lunar 500 camera t shirt.