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Who captures the most fascinating moments for us? Our photographer Florian Voggeneder, who actively participates in our missions, has a special eye for the right moment. The tireless commitment of our photographers puts us in the pleasant position of being able to access a large pool of unique image material.
Florian, how much planning goes into your images, or how do you lie in wait as a photographer to find the perfect moment, for example when the spacesuit glitters in the last ray of sunlight?
Florian: In search of the most authentic images possible, I go directly into the mission whose authenticity defines the planning. The structures are so well planned out that every AMADEE mission runs accurately and authentically. One can only achieve this authenticity of imagery by becoming part of the mission. After setting up a suitable slot in the DAP (daily activity plan) for media appearances even before the mission starts, it is a challenging game of patience to capture the right moment in the action. My job is not only to follow the DAP, but also to be able to act flexibly to capture unexpected, spontaneous and unique shots that no one would have expected. As you can see, everyone involved in the mission must be very experienced and well-rehearsed.
What was the most curious incident behind one of your pictures?
Florian: No matter how much you plan in advance, it remains an extraordinary experience every time to actually be in the mission environment, in the habitat, standing in the field, looking into the viewfinder or at the display and realizing that you are now part of this unique mission. It’s curious as well as inspiring to suddenly see 2 people in suits walking up the hill and I’m hearing the same radio I usually hear, but suddenly it’s a melding of science and something the world has yet to experience. That feeling of being on the cusp of Mars is something I also try to depict in the photographs, because 21st century humans are not used to seeing people on other planets.
You developed a bridge to Mumble for the backup radio. Have you always been technically interested and savvy or is the ÖWF contagious in that case?
Florian: I’ve had the fundamental interest since I was a kid, ever since I took my dad’s stereo apart into parts. My favorite activity as a child was going to the scrap collection center on Fridays, taking out electronic waste and taking it apart in the workshop at home. I went on to study media arts and in my artistic work this fascination remained. Signals I find interesting in all their forms and at OeWF they asked me if I could build something out of my fascination with them that would be helpful in the mission. Eventually it came down to the home-built backup radio, secured in a sealed case to provide gap closure in case things go quiet on the main channels. Thus, one can check on the backup channels if something is not defective.
What kind of impact does the mission have on you?
Florian: When you think about the current Corona situation and deal with the issue of isolation, the senses play an important role. What I had to learn over and over again was to be able to look forward to something very special when you had a moment to yourself. The day is very strictly timed, there are rarely changes in the schedule and as you know in times of isolation due to the Corona virus, it is important to be able to rely on humanity. The team is very well coordinated and being able to share the emotions that you show in such a unique and new field of research is very important for the success of the mission.
This article is available in: German
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