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A Portrait of the Russian Space Age
Adam Bartos

ISBN 9781568983080
Publication date 11/1/2001
11 x 9.75 inches (27.9 x 24.8 cm), Hardcover
176 pages, 94 color illustrations
Rights: World; Carton qty: 10; (-4.4)

This book is Out of Print


The Space Race was an exhilirating moment in history, alternately frightening, thrilling, awe-inspiring, and ultimately, sublime. Its most enigmatic element was the competition. The Soviets seemed less technologically sophisticated (at least from the American perspective) but in fact won many of the races: first satellite to orbit the earth; first man in space; first unmanned landings on Mars, Venus, and the Moon; first woman in space; most powerful rockets; and, until its recent fiery death, the most long-lived space station to name but a few.

The inherent contradictions of the age--the mixture of technologies high and low, of nostalgia and progress, of pathos and promise--are revealed in Kosmos, Adam Bartos's astonishing photographic survey of the Soviet space program. Bartos' fascination with this subject led him to seek out places like the bedroom where Yuri Gagarian slept the night before his history-making flight into space, located in the Baiknour Cosmodrome, the one-time top-secret space complex in the Kazakh desert. Bartos also takes us inside the cockpit of the Merkur space capsule, used to ferry crew members and supplies to the super-secret Almaz orbital space stations, and behind the changing screens cosmonauts used before being fitted for their space suits at Zvezda, the chief manufacturer of Soviet life-support systems.

In total, Kosmos presents over 100 of Bartos's photographs, rich with the incongruities of the history, science, culture, and politics of the Space Age. Professor Svetlana Boym's insightful introduction to the technological and cultural aspects of Soviet space exploration provides a fitting context for the photographs. For anyone interested in the space age, Kosmos is an essential and fascinating portrait.

Adam Bartos is a New York based photographer.

Editorial Reviews

Space Age Design, Books in the Media:
"A book revealing the interior design of Russian Cosmonauts homes and offices was seen in the Observer. This was KOSMOS: A PORTRAIT OF THE RUSSIAN SPACE AGE by Adam Bartos."

The Human Face of Soviet Space, EYE Magazine:
"[A] rich hoard of marginal detail forms a large part of the book, which also includes spectacular images of the transportation of rockets and the vast halls from which they were fired."

Featured Book,
"With KOSMOS, photographer Adam Bartos captures the power and strength of the former Soviet Unions space industry in all its complexity and contradictions. . . .KOSMOS is a visual feast that lauds that which is so often lost in the histories of mans conquest of space: the human element."

"His photographs of people, hardware, and mementos reflect the sometimes conflicting aspects of the Soviet program: the mix of high and low technologies, tensions between the ideas of individuals and the goals of groups, nostalgia for the past, and promise of the future."

A Curtain Is Lifted On Faded Glory, The New York Times:
"The inner worlds of the once mighty, once secretive Russian space program are laid bare in KOSMOS, a book of beautiful photographs taken by Adam Bartos. . ."

KOSMOS photos document Russian space program, Sun-News (Las Cruces, NM):
"The pictures of space hardware, launch sites and related gear are fascinating as well as artful - - unique insights into the enormity and intricacy of the craft and the Soviet commitment. . . . More entrancing and somehow haunting, though, are the photographs of the people. . . that speak of a very mysterious life in a world far, far from outsiders experience."

"The book is a time capsule of behind-the-scenes people and places, the relics of Russias glory days, that Bartos and Boym render with quiet beauty and mystery."

Amateur Photographer:
"The photographs are technically perfect and beautifully printed. . . Kosmos will appeal to people who are fascinated by Russias space programme."

Seed Magazine:
"Combining a documentary scope with a voyeur aesthetic, photographer Adam Bartos takes us into the halls, chambers, offices and minds of the Russian Space Program."

"KOSMOS is, in a sense, a book about loss. The lost dream of outer space, of home, which for present-day Russia is even farther out of reach. The photographs in this book are a testament to the management of memory, to the poignant and paradoxical relationship between individual imagination and collective aspiration, between poetry and technology."

USA Today:
"More poignant still is KOSMOS: A PORTRAIT OF THE RUSSIAN SPACE AGE, where 95 haunting photographs by Adam Bartos show the men and machines, both worn with age but still proud, of the Soviet space program."

M2 Communications (UK Newswire):
". . . an exclusive look into the heart of the Russian space programme."

Architects Journal:
"Those thwarted aspirations (of the Russian space programme) are palpable in this book. Though the opening image is of a 1998 launch at Baikonur. . . the cosmodrome speaks more of failure or futility than triumph."

"These stunning photographs play upon a sense of nostalgia and technological sublimity."

To Boldly Decorate, Observer Magazine (U.K.):
"Adam Bartos spent three years documenting the homes and offices of Russias cosmonauts - and the results are out of this world."

Lost in Space, World Architecture:
"Bartos exquisite and richly detailed photographs have something of the colour palette and feel of (Russian photographer) Andreas Gurskys images. Their peculiarly Russian hybrid of high and low tech evokes not so much a remembrance of things past as of things past, present and future. . . . In many ways these are the books central images: of frozen time, arrested development and unfulfilled promise."

The Austin Chronicle:
". . .a rare and intriguing look into the Soviet space program."

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