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Lot #8
Otto Berg's 1954 'Earth from Space' 16mm and 35mm Film Reels

Film used to create the iconic first color image of Earth from space

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Estimate: $2500+
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Film used to create the iconic first color image of Earth from space

Otto Berg's 16mm and 35mm film reels used in the creation of his iconic 1954 photomosaic of Earth from space, produced from imagery captured on a 16mm movie camera flown 100 miles high aboard an Aerobee rocket on October 5, 1954. Includes: one loose reel of 16mm color positives marked "AJ-10-24 color"; one reel of 16mm color positives in a canister, labeled in Berg's hand: "Original of Life Magazine Picture, Oct. 1954 / Original 16mm film from which Earth Portrait (Life Magazine) was made—Do Not Project!"; and a canister housing a 16mm film and 35mm enlargement, labeled in Berg's hand: "Aerobee 10-24, 16mm film footage of 1954 portrait of Earth/hurricane. Also enlarged 35mm footage which is a 'negative' of it, used to produce the mosaic." A handwritten note from Berg included in the larger canister reads: "Note!! herein is the 16mm footage of the 1954 Aeorbee AJ1024 camera film from which the Life Magazine portrait of Earth was obtained. Also the 35mm sections which served as an interim negative to make the 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 color pictures of that composted the mosaic." In overall very good to fine condition; while the spool and leader of this 16mm film is mildewed, the film generally appears clean. Accompanied by an offprint of Berg's article, "High-Altitude Portrait of Storm Clouds," reprinted from the Office of Naval Research's Research Reviews (September 1955), as well as an excerpt from his unpublished autobiography recounting his work on this project.

From the collection of Dr. Otto Berg.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Science and Technology
  • Dates: #650 - Ended December 15, 2022