Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
“Final Frontier”, an exhibition on view in Toronto, Canada celebrates the 50th anniversary
of the moon landing, and our enduring fascination with what lies beyond our atmosphere.
Comprised of nearly 200 photographs created over a period of 130 years, the exhibition
includes nineteenth-century observations of the Earth’s surface, photographs taken by
astronauts on the surface of the Moon, as well as contemporary photographs that
reinterpret previously made images of outer space, or offer new perspectives on space
The installation provides a small chronology of ways that photography has been used in the
pursuit of scientific discovery. It includes vintage photographs by James H. Nasmyth; Loewy
and Puiseux; NASA astronauts (such as Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, John Young,
and Charles M. Duke, Jr.); unknown photographers, and photographs transmitted from the
Ranger and Orbiter Missions. Also included are contemporary photographic works by
Benjamin Freedman; Michael Light; Sanaz Mazinani; and Eva Stenram.
Toronto-based photographer Benjamin Freedman’s practice questions photography’s role
in describing the world, and its implications within a range of professional practices,
particularly in the fields of history and science. While probing the relative truths and
deceptions of photography, he purposefully adopts visual vocabularies from genres such as
science fiction and horror to create expanded documentary and narrative
During a two-month residency in northern Iceland, Freedman became interested in the
country’s unique topographic features. Its low mountains and fascinating geological
features inspired Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town (OFORT), a series that illustrates a fictional story about a lunar phenomenon taking place in a sleepy town.
As a medium that boasts power and authority, photography remains a complex tool that
inherently elicits the truth while simultaneously hinting at the possibility of fiction. Like
images mined from a forgotten archive, images of geological samples of unknown origin and
views of deep space act as constellations within an unfolding fictional narrative.
Freedman’s three-panel video projection Apollo Remix engages themes of history, media,
and the archive. The internet has become highly saturated with recordings and information
about the Apollo 11 space mission, one of the most documented historical events of the past
century. Freedman’s experimental film reconstructs the craft’s voyage and subsequent
moon landing using video footage sourced from the internet. It addresses the dissociative
and fragmentary nature of experiencing historical documentation through an array of
online sources. Using existing archival documents as source material, Apollo Remix
simultaneously restages and reimagines the mission. Further, it reflects the ongoing critical
role of artists as myth makers, in their reconsideration and reconfiguration of history and
the dissemination of media.
In 2015, Freedman self-published his first photography book and has exhibited extensively
across the Greater Toronto Area, most recently at the Ryerson Image Centre, 8eleven
Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. He has also shared his work internationally at
the Aperture Foundation in New York City.