The ‘Afronauts’ is an ongoing project from Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel. I really love the mood of these images – they feel like a sci-fi scenario that has got completely misplaced whilst travelling through time and space. They are humorous but also slightly eery at the same time.

However, in a statement about the ‘Afronauts’ project, Middel suggests that her actual inspiration for this project was just as obscure as you would imagine it to be.

In 1964, still living the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first African person on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.

Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambitious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts, a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit. That is how the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode of the African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.

“Afronauts” is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures. I start from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuild the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.

Middel creates the perfect realisation of a truly bizarre story. There are so many other beautiful, witty and imaginative projects on Middel’s website. Make sure you check it out.

http://www.lademiddel.com/
http://www.heyhotshot.com/blog/2012/01/23/second-edition-2011-hot-shot-cristina-de-middel/

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