By Rashod Ollison |
In 1977, David Alan Harvey was in his early 30s and had been working as a photographer for various publications, including National Geographic, for about a decade.
In September of that year, a team led by author and astrophysicist Carl Sagan oversaw the launch of NASA's Voyager 1, a spacecraft designed to study the outer solar system. The team included a capsule aboard the spacecraft with items representative of life on Earth, such as music by Mozart.
Among the 100 photos chosen were two by Harvey that were originally published in National Geographic: one of a smiling man in Malaysia holding his daughter on his shoulder; the other of geese flying into a red sunset, taken at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach.
Harvey's photos have since traveled through our galaxy far, far, away.
NASA reported this week that new data from Voyager 1 indicates that the probe has left the influence of the sun and entered interstellar space after a 36-year odyssey through the solar system, across more than 11 billion miles.
"It's safe to say that, if there's any life out there, there's at least one picture they'll see of life in the Tidewater area," Harvey said Friday, calling from New York.
Harvey said that his photos were randomly selected in 1977.
"Someone on the team must've have seen them in National Geographic," said Harvey, 69. "I didn't submit anything."
Harvey's career in photography started in Hampton Roads in the mid-1960s, when he was "just a surfer boy in Virginia Beach." He had moved to the area with his family from San Francisco when he was a boy.
In 1956, Harvey bought his first camera with money he had earned delivering papers for The Virginian-Pilot.
About a decade later, at 21, Harvey moved in with a poor black family in Norfolk and chronicled his experience through a series of photos collected in his first book, "Tell It Like It Is," published in 1967. He's planning to republish the book this fall.
Soon after earning a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1969, Harvey started shooting photos for National Geographic.
The images chosen by NASA had been published in the magazine just months before Voyager 1 was launched.
"NASA was just looking around for pictures that represented the planet," said Harvey, who lives on the Outer Banks when he's not traveling for work.
"They were not trying to put together an art exhibit. That sucker's been traveling for 35 years with my pictures on it. That's kind of a cool thing."
Rashod Ollison, 757-446-2732,email@example.com