I was 10 years old when Apollo 8 blasted off in December 1968. It’s mission? To orbit the moon. The spectacle of a Saturn V rocket launch carrying humans to the moon was the coolest thing I could imagine. Just one year later, I remember staring intently (as if doing so could somehow place me inside it) at the images from the Apollo 11 mission: Neil Armstrong, reflected in the visor of Buzz Aldrin, standing on the moon. Two separate but connected realizations hit me: that a single photograph could change the world, and that I was in love with the moon.
Fast-forward to Summer 2011: I was a photographer making pictures of New York City, as the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached. It was a summer filled with walking up and down the Hudson River in New Jersey, chasing the light, attempting to show off a New York City that was finally getting back to being itself; beautiful and majestic, a city of the world. One World Trade Center was under construction; the skyline of Manhattan was about to change forever, once more. And I was at the center of it, making pictures to document a city, like Chicago and San Francisco before it, rising from its own ashes.
In May of 2012, I began to make photographs of the moon rising over New York City’s skyline. For the first time in my life, oddly enough, I’d started to hear people talking about the “Super Moon” which would appear later that month. I made plans to photograph the Super Moon from Eagle Rock Reservation, a park 13 miles from New York City. As the massive moon appeared behind the skyline, I was overwhelmed by its size, beauty, and reflected light. It was one a once-in-a-lifetime “WOW” moment, and would set me on my mission of photographing every full moon rising over New York, from that point forward.
Eight years into this project, New York is more magnificent than ever. The city is experiencing a massive construction boom, and once again the skyline is being transformed. But the celestial events overhead remind us that humanity’s small changes are but a blip; the heavens expand above us, and stars far, far away turn supernova, though our own sun and moon remain (to the naked eye) fixed, seemingly eternal. I hope when people look at my pictures, they feel a connection not only to the greatest city in the world, but to every human of this world, and the universe above and beyond. –Gary Hershorn
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