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APERTURE

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Hardcover, 11.5 x 13.75 in. / 272 pgs / 150 tritone.

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PUB DATE 10/31/2013
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CATALOG: FALL 2013 p. 3   

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The canyons, dunes and mountains of the planet Mars in stupendous satellite photographs.

  

PUBLISHERS > APERTURE

This Is Mars

Published by Aperture
Edited and designed by Xavier Barral. Text by Alfred S. McEwen, Francis Rocard, Nicolas Mangold. Photographs by NASA/MRO.

This Is Mars offers a previously unseen vision of the red planet. Located somewhere between art and science, the book brings together for the first time a series of panoramic images recently sent back by the U.S. observation satellite MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). Since its arrival in orbit in 2006, MRO and its HiRISE telescope have been mapping Marsí surface in a series of exceptionally detailed images that reveal all the beauty of this legendary planet. Conceived as a visual atlas, the book takes the reader on a fantastic voyage--plummeting into the breathtaking depths of the Velles Marineris canyons; floating over the black dunes of Noachis Terra; and soaring to the highest peak in our solar system, the Olympus Mons volcano. The search for traces of water also uncovers vast stretches of carbonic ice at the planetís poles. Seamlessly compiled by French publisher, designer and editor Xavier Barral, these extraordinary images are accompanied by an introduction by research scientist Alfred S. McEwen, principle investigator on the HiRISE telescope; an essay by astrophysicist Francis Rocard, who explains the story of Marsí origins and its evolution; and a timeline by geophysicist Nicolas Mangold, who unveils the geological secrets of this fascinating planet.

All photographs are reproduced from This Is Mars.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/7/2013

This Is Mars: Preview

This Is Mars: PreviewThis week, we received an advance copy of This Is Mars, one of the most important and fascinating photo (and science) books of the year. Published by Aperture and compiled by the revered French publisher, editor and designer Xavier Barral, this deluxe hardcover features 150 exquisite tritone images of the Red Planet, taken by the famous HiRISE camera. At once abstract and thrillingly specific, they are universally stupendous. Below is Barral's Preface, followed by a selection of images. If only our digital reproductions could do the book justice!
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/2/2013

This Is Mars: A Masterpiece of Photo Book Editing by Xavier Barral

This Is Mars: A Masterpiece of Photo Book Editing by Xavier BarralThis Is Mars, published by Aperture and photo edited by Xavier Barral, is without a doubt one of the most exquisite new photography books of this year, as well as one of the most fascinating collections of space photographs, ever. Created by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) super camera at the University of Arizona since 2006, these images "challenge our very understanding" of the Red Planet, according to Barral, who writes, "I have approached and scrutinized the lava plains of the North, the ergs of the dunes, the craters covered with volcanic dust, the abyssal canyons, and the collapsed poles; and, as a stroller-in-place among the tens of thousands of images, I have chosen to maintain a uniform vantage point: each photograph covers six kilometers (3.7 miles) in breadth. At the end of this voyage, I have gathered here the most endemic landscapes. They send us back to Earth, to the genesis of geological forms, and, at the same time, they upend our reference points: dunes that are made of black sand, ice that sublimates. According to Victor Hugo, a landscape is a kind of writing, at the origin of the alphabet as well as of images: every letter was at first a sign, and each sign was at first an image. These places and reliefs can be read as a series of hieroglyphs that take us back to our origins." Featured image is of a field of dunes in the Proctor crater. continue to blog


This Is Mars

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STAFF REVIEW

Co-published by Aperture and the boutique French photobook imprint Xavier Barral, This Is Mars is unlike anything you've ever seen: a stunning, oversize, clothbound, jacketed hardcover, with 150 black-and-white photographs superlatively printed in triton, with three colors of black and grey ink on premium paperstock. The full-page and double-page spread photographs of the surface of Mars depict jagged cliffs towering over deep canyons, scalloped sand dunes, volcanic craters laced with gullies, rugged knobs, rocky mesas and windswept valleys. This book transports us to a majestic, awe-inspiring landscape untouched by man.
As images, the photographs bring to mind Ansel Adams' black-and-white landscape photographs of the rugged terrain of the American West--images which, at the time, must have been as strange to Eastern city dwellers as these photographs of another planet's landscape are to us today. How in the world--or rather out of the world--were these photographs taken?
On August 12th, 2005, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (the MRO) launched from Cape Canaveral--the 39th launch of a space vehicle to Mars. Of those 39, 30 had failed to accomplish their mission. The MRO traveled some 310,000,000 miles and entered the orbit of Mars seven months later on March 12, 2006. For the next 8 months, until November 2006, it aerobraked, decelerating in the Martian atmosphere, and was placed in a low-altitude orbit ranging from 150 to 200 miles above the planet's surface. Now in the seventh year of its successful mission, the MRO remains today in orbit, sending back data to earth.
On board the MRO is HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, which has been photographing the planet for seven years, at resolutions as fine as mere inches per pixel. The HiRISE Experiment is managed by the University of Arizona in Tuscon which actively publicizes its research, including a YouTube video channel (often narrated by Arizona Public Media radio personality Robert Rappaport). In August of this past year, the HiRISE Project of the Mas Reconnaissance Orbiter captured an impressive picture of the Curiosity Mars Rover's nail-biting descent onto the planet.
So how did these NASA photographs end up in an art book? Xavier Barral, the French photo- and art-book designer who created Jeff Koons Versailles, Murakami Versailles, the limited edition of Martin Parr's Life's a Beach, William Kentridge's The Refusal of Time and Guy Bourdin: Polaroids is, in the eyes of many, the best photo and art book maker at work today. The This Is Mars project is the result of years of work by Barral. First, he looked at tens of thousands of the images that had been sent back from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, many of them more than two gigabytes in size. Using his expert photographic eye and design training that even the scientists involved found to be a discovery, he made a selection of 150 images.
As Barral points outs, there is no one "photographer" who made these images. Rather, they are the work of the thousands of people who have worked on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the HiRISE telescopic camera. Barral adds that, of course, they are the most expensive photographs ever made! In his own words, "I intervene as an artist ... I am doing the work of an editor, and I decide what I want to show, choosing each photograph because of the particular qualities of interest that it evokes." In his hands, the photographs go from being scientific data to aesthetic images.
To frame their presentation, he has enlisted as authors the head of the HiRISE telescopic photography project, Dr. McKewen from the University of Arizona, Tuscon, which houses the imaging project for NASA; Nicolas Mangold, an astrogeologist analyzing the data about Mars' geology; and Francis Rocard, who coordinates the French contributors to the NASA project.
The book that Xavier Barral and Aperture are bringing us is stunning and the photographs are breathtaking. Its nearest equivalent is, of course, the bestselling classic Earth From Above. Like that title, This Is Mars is an immensely generous book that speaks not only to the photobook audience but also to the nature and science audiences. Like Earth From Above, but in a new era, This Is Mars evokes marvel and awe at the majestic beauty of our universe. It also leaves us full of admiration for the feats that science has been able accomplish.
--Sharon Gallagher

 






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