I love a good conspiracy theory. Government, aliens, theological… it’s all good; the wackier the better. Do I believe everything I hear? Of course not. But I’m humble enough to realize there’s way more unknown than known out there, and my imagination tends to give most theories a healthy dose of “maybe.”
The Moon is our closest, most attainable piece of extra-terrestrial real estate. It’s a sturdy, dependable, natural satellite that we haven’t bothered to visit since 1972. Perhaps we saw all we needed to see up there. (I don’t believe that.) Maybe it’s too difficult or expensive to set up a colony there. (I don’t believe that, either.) Whether it’s lack of interest or gubbermint red tape, you do have to wonder why we haven’t made better use of it.
There are a number of totally unrelated lunar landing conspiracies out there. One of the better known is that we never landed on the Moon, and that it was all a big government hoax to win our “Space Race” with Russia. I’ve seen the evidence. I raised an eyebrow. I can see where somebody would believe it. It’s even plausible that through Hollywood trickery we faked the first trip, but to say we’ve never been seems like a stretch.
My all-time favorite conspiracy involves the possibility that there are ancient ruins on the Moon. Richard C. Hoagland, an ex-employee at NASA, is the best known authority on this subject. His website: http://www.enterprisemission.com/INA-Outgassing.htm . I first discovered Hoagland on Coast to Coast AM, where he is a regular guest on the late-night radio show.
Another website by a researcher named David Wilcock, http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/luna/esp_luna_32.htm , is pure candy for anyone looking to stay awake all night pouring over this subject. He has NASA photos with suspiciously (and ham-handedly) blurred-out spots (hey, it was pre-Photoshop) some of which insinuate the shapes of the blurred objects or structures.
The absolute best part of Wilcock’s site has to be the alleged leaked video footage taken by lunar astronauts as they wander through the ruins of an ancient structure. If it’s real, then it’s spectacular on a world-changing scale. If it’s faked, then it’s spectacular for very different reasons. This place is huge, and the effort and funding that would have gone into faking such a thing is mind-blowing in it’s own way.
A few years back, I was all-up in Moon conspiracy stuff. It was also at that time that the Brimstone Museum invited me to submit some work into their annual Chaos Theory exhibit. It’s a very popular art show that covers the wide spectrum of pop culture. I thought this was a great opportunity to create a series of conspiracy-inspired Moon landing images in Adobe Photoshop.
“The Ruins of Mount Olympus”
This series implies that the fabled Mount Olympus, home of the gods of myth, was actually a settlement on the Moon, populated by advanced beings who “watched over us from the heavens”. To create these images, I searched the internet for high resolution, full color images of NASA space suits. I used some authentic NASA images, and I also stumbled upon some photos from a special effects company who built some beautiful space suits as well. I also began to combine actual photos from the surface of the Moon with photos of archeological sites found on Earth. I wanted to include pyramids, but I didn’t want to use the familiar Pyramids of Giza or the Mayan pyramids of South America, or it could kill the whole illusion. Since these were the dwellings of the Greek gods, it made sense to borrow from Greek architecture. I used strictly Greek pyramids in these images.
“As Above, So Below”
I placed an arial shot of an archeological dig into the Moon’s shadowy craters. You can see three orange backhoes excavating the ruin. Flash Fact: Inside the large crater, you can see a shape that is believed to be an actual Moon ruin. Not Photoshop!
I wanted to show the perspective of the Earth setting or rising behind the lunar ruins. You see the familiar shot of an astronaut planting an American flag surrounded by footprints, with another astronaut off in the distance.
“Excavation of Dion”
There isn’t actually a Moon photo used in this image. It’s a combination of a Middle Eastern archeological dig and two Greek pyramids with the color bleached out to match the yellow-grey tones of the lunar surface. Dion was the name of the lost, ancient Greek city that was located at the foot of Mount Olympus.
“Those Who Dwelt Here”
I thought the image of an Astronaut digging up the ancient remains of a human being would spark a number of questions. What was the final fate of the Greek gods of myth? Did the Moon once have an atmosphere, and where did it go? Did “the gods” not require air or shielding? Flash Fact: Off in the distance you see a group of Greek pyramids. On the front of two pyramids you see a structure made of columns and right angles more familiar as Greek architectural design. Not Photoshopped! Those are actual Greek pyramids as they stand today.
Quick story… After I had these images printed, I brought them by my parents’ house to show them off. it was on this image that my dad said, “Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but what exactly did you do here? it’s pictures of astronauts on the Moon. I know you didn’t go to the Moon and take these pictures, so what exactly is your claim here?” I just stood there, not sure of what to say or where to begin. My mom said, “Rickey, look. He’s digging up a body. ON THE MOON. Those are pyramids. ON THE MOON.” After a couple of beats he jumped and said, “OOOOOOoooohhhhh!!!”
“Within the Temple”
This is our only closeup of an astronaut, and the only shot from inside a structure, intended as a grand finale or reveal. You can see where the ceiling has caved in, exposing the stars above. The reflection of the statue in the helmet is showing that he is gazing upon a god, possibly a statue of Zeus himself. Flash Fact: If you were to go to Greece and see that statue, it’s actually headless. As with the pyramids, I didn’t want to use a familiar statue and spoil the illusion.
If you have any questions or comments at all, whether it be about conspiracy theories or Photoshop techniques, feel free to ask!