Cosmonaut Grave

Ginny Schmidt

St. Petersburg, United States

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Artist's Description

I just ran across a photo album from my trip to Russia in 1973 – forty years ago. Although my friends and I were discouraged from straying apart from the group, four of us took off to sightsee in Moscow one day. We found our way to the Novodevichy Cemetery where we were surprised to find this beautiful cosmonaut grave.

According to Wikipedia, Pavel Belyayev (1925-1970) commanded the 2-man Voskhod 2 mission in March 1965 in which Alexei Leonov successfully completed a 12 minute spacewalk – the world’s first: the US Gemini 4 mission with Ed White’s spacewalk was three months later, in June 1965. Named one of the Soviet Union’s most gifted commander pilots, Belyayev at 34 was the oldest candidate accepted into the cosmonaut training program in 1960. He died in 1970, five years after the Voskhod 2 mission, from peritonitis resulting from surgery on a stomach ulcer.

The camera I was using on this trip had to have been an inexpensive point-and-shoot variety using a flash cube and a film cartridge. The pictures in my album are all so faded there was virtually no recognizable color in this one when I scanned it – so I tinkered with what was there and came up with something I thought was appropriate for an old Russian cemetery shot. A light half-tone-type screening effect was also added to complete a vintage effect.

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