2018 Sony Photography Awards / How one photographer’s dream of being an astronaut led to this stunning image

Posted on: April 20, 2018 | Culture & Life

A fascination with the universe has taken photographer Jack Yong from space science facilities throughout Malaysia all the way to the 2018 Sony Photography Awards, where his image, “Space Project 2088”, has been shortlisted

Tell us about the photo and what it represents to you…
The photo was taken in a large facility where machines were operating within their specific halls. This machine is called the Thermal Vacuum Test Chamber. Prototype satellites are placed inside and exposed to extreme high and low temperatures to simulate the extreme temperature differences and vacuum condition experienced in low-gravity. This photo represents our ever-growing role in the discovery of new theories and knowledge to better understand the universe… Science and technology is a platform of endless possibilities, just like space.

Why did you choose to home in on space for this series of photographs?
Since I was young, as I believe many of us out there have, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Bound by limitations, I diverted my attention into the consolidation of subjects and materials that provides a sentiment of space. This self-journey of discovery eventually grew into the idea of visualising what ‘space’ looks like on Earth.

How would you describe your photographic style or approach?
I work at a slow pace, by practice. We live in an extremely fast pace [age] but, with photography, I have the control over time, which is essential in how I perceive my subjects. The camera is an extension of my periphery of view, which gives me an advantage in pushing the physical limits of my vision.

Space Project 2088 by Jack Yong / 2018 Sony Photography Awards

A note from the photographer:
Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, the first Malaysian individual who traveled to space, made a statement that resonated with me until today; “I looked out through the tiny window –and there it was, the unmistakable third rock from the Sun we call Earth, floating in the inky darkness of space. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. My heart felt like it had stopped beating and my eyes didn’t even blink. I just looked in awe, amazed by the beauty of space. The moment was worth dying for.”

By entering several space facilities in Malaysia, I’ve garnered photographs that remind us not just of the representation of these machines and landscapes as functional objects – but an extensive reinterpretation of “space” on Earth.

This article was published in the April edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.

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