Cristina de Middel | 5 min | South Africa, Spain | 2012
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
In 1964, still leaving the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program that would put the first african on the moon catching up the USA and the Soviet Union in the space race.
Only a few optimists supported the project by Edward Makuka, the school teacher in charge of presenting the ambicious program and getting its necessary funding. But the financial aid never came, as the United Nations declined their support, and one of the astronauts , a 16 year old girl, got pregnant and had to quit.
That is how the heroic iniciative turned into an exotic episode of the african history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.
As a photojournalist I have always been attracted by the excentric lines of story-telling avoiding the same old subjects told in the same old ways.
Now , with my personal projects, I respect the basis of the truth but allow myself to break the rules of veracity trying to push the audience into analyzing the patterns of the stories we consume as real.
“Afronauts” is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures.
I start from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuild the documents adapting them to my personal imagery .
Edited by Laia Abril and Cristina De Middel
Cristina De Middel ( Spain, 1975) is a photojournalist now based in London that has been working for different newspapers in Spain and with NGO´s such as Doctors Without Borders or the Spanish Red Cross for almost 8 years . She combines her strictly documentary assignments , which has been exhibited and awarded in several occasions (incuding a National Photojournalism Award Juan Cancelo and PhotoFolio Arles 2012), with more personal projects . This B-side of Cristina´s work deliberately asks the audience to question the language and the veracity of photography as a document and plays with reconstructions or archetypes that blur the border between reality and fiction.