Over two years ago, Tim Dodd put the minimum bid on an old space suit online. When it arrived at his doorstep, he wasn’t sure what on Earth he would actually do with it. But eight years of experience as a professional photographer came in handy, and “Everyday Astronaut” was born.
“I want to help add A, art, into STEM education (STEAM),” Dodd told TI. “I think that science, engineering, technology and maths all can coexist and influence art and vice versa.” Dodd’s photography career brought him to the Kennedy Space Center to cover launches, and the ideas sparked from there.
In May 2014, Dodd released the first of his “Everyday Astronaut” series on Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. Sites including BuzzFeed and The Guardian covered the quirky project, but Dodd was far from finished with his space suit.
Scroll down to read more about what Dodd and his astronaut alter-ego have been up to lately.
This was the very first instalment. 'Everyday Astronaut is meant to be a fun, funny, exploratory and inspirational account,' Dodd explained.
'My original series was intended to be a peak into this wanna-be astronauts' life.' Dodd captioned this photo: 'Oh crap!! I'm late for my ride!!!'
'One of the first times I put it (the suit) on in public was at Kennedy Space Center...Well soon I had a line of people waiting to get their picture taken with me thinking I was part of the attraction.'
The photo series' caught the attention of real astronaut Chris Hadfield, who commented on the Reddit post: 'The suits chafes a bit, doesn't it? Great creativity!'
Dodd put months of work into coming up with the perfect photos. He 'soon developed a bit of a character. (Everyday Astronaut) is clumsy, childish and rudimentary.'
'My second series was 'getting into space',' Dodd said. 'Cardboard wings re-entry system, balloon powered ascent, wake boarding for a splashdown... etc.'
'My friend Austin Jensen is a semi professional wakeboarder and he literally risked his life for that shot!' Dodd said. 'He had to take off from the dock and land back at the dock because the suit was so heavy it would have pulled him under
'Third series I decided to go no Photoshop, so I had to set up elaborate scenes and occasionally pull some optical/forced perspective illusions in order to make the image.'
'For one picture I even built a wall and put a hole in it, then arranged the room identical on each side of my friend's house to fake a mirror. That took way too long.'
'I typically try to build up a whole series (or most of a series) before I start posting it. 'No Photoshop' took about 2 months of ongoing brainstorming and shooting.'
'The most fun shoot was my most recent set out in Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats.' Dodd teamed up with fellow Instagram photographer Dustin LeFevre for the series.
'We stayed up super late playing with fireworks and different light sources, and camped out on the Salt Flats...'
'Recently I've been having to travel a lot for work (photographing weddings) so I've been taking the suit with me wherever I go just for some cool 'exploring Earth' pictures.'
'In general, the travelling (pictures) have all been a blast. I just really enjoy travelling in general, so it's a lot of fun to try and incorporate the space suit into some of those shots.' Here's Dodd on the Great Wall of China.
Follow the 'Everyday Astronaut' on Instagram as his adventures continue -- he's still waiting for a call from NASA.
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