When photographer Tim Dodd happened to find a vintage Russian high altitude space suit on an auction website, he decided he couldn’t live without it. After six months, he’s donned the suit at least 17 times to photograph himself as a character he calls the Everyday Astronaut, doing everything from mowing the lawn (with a Segway) to grocery shopping (for Tang) and walking the dog (with a drone).
“I bought the suit completely on a whim,” Dodd says. “I thought, this is so ridiculous, I have to do this. It’s kind of become the projection of my inner child and my love for space. As I continue thinking of ideas, I realize I’m buying all of the things that my 7-year-old self would have loved to buy, like space bedsheets and toys.”
Each photograph has references to NASA; some are more obvious, like Apollo 13 playing on a TV, and some are subtle, like an alarm clock reading 6:07 a.m., the same time as a wakeup warning sounded on the final American shuttle flight after a computer glitch.
Dodd carefully scouted the locations. “Most were taken around my hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, but it took a couple of months,” he says. “I had to find the right vision of the shot, so mowing the lawn happened at a friend’s house with that Americana look and the right angle of the sun. I ended up mowing half their lawn to make it legitimate.”
Dodd is working on a long list of other ideas that use the same character. “He’s just supposed to be a childish astronaut,” he says. “Or maybe he’s someone who wants to be an astronaut but doesn’t have any formal training. It’s a little bit open to interpretation.”