What does space travel look like? Even now, in the 21st century, very, very few of us know first-hand. But we’ve all seen countless images from countless eras purporting to show us what it might look like.
As with anything imagined by man, someone had to render a convincing vision of space travel first, and that distinction may well go to 19th-century French illustrator Émile-Antoine Bayard who, perhaps not surprisingly, worked with Jules Verne.
Verne’s pioneering and prolific work in science fiction literature has kept him a household name, but Bayard’s may sound more obscure; still, we’ve all seen his artwork, or at least we’ve all seen the drawing of Cosette the orphan he did for Les Misérables.
“Readers of Jules Verne’s early science-fiction classic From the Earth to the Moon (De la terre à la lune) — which left the Baltimore Gun Club’s bullet-shaped projectile, along with its three passengers and dog, hurtling through space — had to wait a whole five years before learning the fate of its heroes,” says The Public Domain Review.
When it appeared, 1870’s Around the Moon (Autour de la Lune) offered not just “a fine continuation of the space adventure” but “a superb series of wood engravings to illustrate the tale” created by Bayard.
“There had been imaginary views of other worlds, and even of space flight before this,” writes Ron Miller in Space Art, “but until Verne’s book appeared, these views all had been heavily coloured by mysticism rather than science.
Mayflies swarm above the Rába at night. Photograph by Imre Potyó
Photography is often all about patience. A photographer might wait hours or even days to get a shot.
Even by that measure, Imre Potyó is a man of exceptional perseverance. He spent 12 days waiting to make this amazing photo of mayflies over the Rába river in Hungary.
The tiny insects, called Ephoron virgo, are but a few months old when they take to the air at the end of July or start of August. Great swarms appear over the rivers of central Europe at sunset to mate by the millions, only to die by dawn.
Imre Potyó first photographed a swarm in 2013. “I was impressed by the wonderful dance of the mayflies,” he says.
Last year, he decided to try shooting the mayflies against a starlit sky. Because no one can ever say just when the flies will appear, Potyó returned to the banks of the Rába night after night.
Finally, the creatures appeared in a whirlwind. “I was standing on the river, so me and my equipment were totally covered by the huge masses of buzzing mayflies,” he says. “They were all around me.”
Potyó took over 200 photos in about two hours with his Nikon D90, but the final image is a composite of two shots. First, he used a fast shutter speed to capture the mayflies’ erratic movements, illuminating them with a flash and a flashlight.
Then he made a 30-second exposure focused on the stars above.
Most people have no clue that the Grimms’ first edition of 1812-15 is totally unlike the final or so-called definitive edition of 1857, that they published seven different editions from 1812 to 1857, and that they made vast changes in the contents and style of their collections and also altered their concept of folk and fairy tales in the process.
By 1805 their entire family had moved from their small village of Hanau to the nearby provincial city of Kassel, and the Brothers were constantly plagued by money problems and concerns about their siblings.
Their father had been dead for some years, and they were about to lose their mother.
Their situation was further aggravated by the rampant Napoleonic Wars. Jacob interrupted his studies to serve the Hessian War Commission in 1806.
Meanwhile, Wilhelm passed his law exams enabling him to become a civil servant and to find work as a librarian in the royal library with a meager salary.
In 1807 Jacob lost his position with the War Commission, when the French occupied Kassel, but he was then hired as a librarian for the new King Jérome, Napoleon’s brother, who now ruled Westphalia.
Amidst all the upheavals, their mother died in 1808, and Jacob and Wilhelm became fully responsible for their three younger brothers and sister.
Despite the loss of their mother and difficult personal and financial circumstances from 1805 to 1812, the Brothers managed to prove themselves to be innovative scholars in the new field of German philology by publishing articles and books on medieval literature.
Still in their twenties, they were about to launch the collection of tales that was to become second in popularity to the Bible throughout Germany and later throughout the western world by the twentieth century.