In 1964, still living 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 ambitious 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 initiative turned into an exotic episode of the african history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger.
The Afronauts is a featured multimedia piece on DEVELOP Tube. DEVELOP Tube is an educational resource which features multimedia, interviews, lectures & films about photojournalism, documentary & fine art photography. vimeo.com/channels/developphoto
From Cristina: As a photojournalist I have always been attracted by the eccentric 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 started from a real fact that took place 50 years ago and rebuilt the documents adapting them to my personal imagery.
De Middel’s personal and professional work for newspapers and NGOs has been recognized by the National Photojournalism Prize Juan Cancelo (2009), Fnac Photographic Talent (2009) and the Humble Arts Women in Photography Project Grant (2011). She has an MA in fine arts from University of Valencia, Spain (2001), an MA in photography from University of Oklahoma (2000) and a postgraduate degree in photojournalism from Universitat Politécnica de Barcelona, Spain (2002).