It is fair to say I read this New York Times article with a wide-eyed sense of wonder. I’m fascinated by the 1960’s, the clothes, JFK and all that was to come… Maybe it is also that this piece is focusing on people watching other people achieving something, which is my role at an event, or wedding; the surrogate pair of eyes.
Apart from the towering event of July 1969 - possibly mankind’s single greatest act of discovery yet - what really hits home is socially just how far some of these shots are from what we all experience today. People standing in line to (communally) view a television - in a shop(!) Today, a hundred people all around you on a train would stream this live on their phone - in silence, with no sense of a shared experience. Have we progressed? No. Absolutely the reverse.
These images capture not just elements of the society of the day, but a genuine collective, people together absorbing something amazing. That day, watching that event, the world and its people were one. People stopped what they were doing to watch men on another planet.
I like to hope my four year old son may experience a little of this when man eventually stands on Mars, or even in smaller way when we venture back to the moon. But whatever the occasion, we’ll never be sitting in a department store together experiencing something literally other-worldly for the first time. That is precious, and captured here forever…
“Looking back at people… watching the Apollo 11 Mission” https://nyti.ms/2XGrDF0