Produced over a period of a decade from 2007-2017, Fournier documents the past and future of space exploration, from the memories of the Apollo program that followed the first steps of man on the moon, to the future NASA SLS rocket destined for Mars. The photos are a deliberate mix of historical and documentarian vision of space adventure with scenes staged by cinema, and Fournier’s childhood memories as well as a journey into our future.
“My work is very freely inspired by the dream and mystery that scientific and technological utopias resonate in the collective imagination,” says Fournier of his collection.
Fournier’s fascination for the space adventure aesthetic is both philosophical and fun, and inspired by childhood books, TV, and movies of the 1970s and 80s. His images are a combination of documentary elements and a very constructed staging where each element depends on a general composition. Thus the emblematic places of the space conquest are also film sets where Tintin meets Jules Verne in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, A Space Odyssey. The artist, who is also a cinema photographer, is influenced by Kubrick’s work and particularly the white room works shot in Guiana Space Center are a meeting between A Space Odyssey and French film Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati.
Fournier secured behind-the-scenes access to almost every major center for space flight design, manufacturing, testing, and launching. He captures the haunting imagery of isolated observatories in the arctic and dystopian scenes from the Mars research center. The series includes images of cosmonauts in their space gear, scenes from the control room of the Apollo 8 mission, and the launch pad of the last US shuttle liftoff. Throughout the series, the history of space exploration is ever present and often in remarkable detail: his images feature personal items like the gloves, helmets, and space suits that were actually worn during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 70s.