When you give a mouse a cookie… they will want a glass of milk to go with it.
When you give a photographer an astronaut suit… well… the possibilities are endless.
Photographer-couple Don and Julia Derosier described a feeling like Christmas morning when they opened the door to find that their package, a replica model of the Apollo 11 space suit, had finally arrived. They’d bought it online, which makes their online shopping history 99.9% more exciting than the rest of the world’s.
With the spacesuit at their disposal, Don and Julia jumpstarted their photography project, Space Hero Mission. Inspired by a “Doctor Who” episode in which an astronaut emerged from under water, Don and Julia decided to create a photo series that captured astronauts in unexpected environments.
When you scroll through their webpage, it looks like one astronaut has travelled across the world. From climbing sand-dunes, to navigating the dangers of urban streets, the astronaut looks like a misplaced figure who has found himself on the wrong planet.
In actuality, it is not one astronaut, but many. Aspiring space explorers across the nation have paid the photographers $250 an hour to fulfill their astronomical dreams. Don and Julia bring the suit and ask the subject to take them to a place that feels like home. These explorations have brought the photographers and the suit into grocery stores, office buildings, and waterfalls.
In each image, the astronaut is the only subject in the photo. Even in the middle of the street, he (or she) is the only living creature to be seen. As a result, even the astronaut’s home can feel like the barren landscape of a moon. In many of the photos, the astronaut appears lonely.
In others, he seems at peace as the unfamiliar world works around him. Occasionally, the astronaut removes their helmet, and the photographer’s give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask. Most of them are smiling—who wouldn’t be happy to fulfill their childhood dream of becoming an astronaut?
The series is whimsical and startling; the Derosier’s didn’t have to use photoshop to create unique images. Instead, they bought a suit and let their subjects play the part of their childhood dream. The photo series allows people to navigate their world as a stranger, which, Don and Julia hope, can help people to “find their place in the universe and in society”.
Since it’s humble beginnings as the brainchild of two space lovers, Space Hero Mission has grown in popularity and cultural importance. They’ve partnered with World Relief Spokane, a refugee resettlement nonprofit. Ten percent of the proceeds from each session are donated to the cause.
Starting this March, the space suit will be traveling around the northwestern part of America, where people will be given the opportunity to participate in the Space Hero Mission Project.
All photos are by Don and Julia Derosier, and can be found on spaceheromission.com