Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. man reflects on grandfather's photo of Apollo 11 launch

As the world looks back at the Apollo 11 mission on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a St. John’s man is looking back on a photo taken by his grandfather.

Capturing the photo posed a special challenge for Juris Benjamin's grandfather

The photo of the Apollo 11 launch captured by George Benjamin in 1969. (Juris Benjamin/Submitted)

As the world looks back at the Apollo 11 mission on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a St. John's man is looking back on a photo taken by his grandfather.

Juris Benjamin's grandfather, George Benjamin, was at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969, when the rocket carrying Apollo 11 took off.

Juris Benjamin said a newspaper asked his grandfather to photograph the launch and provided him press credentials that put him within two miles of the rocket.

"My grandfather was very lucky to be in the press box to capture that photo," he said. 

"It is very special in our family."

Juris said his grandfather was from Latvia and emigrated to Canada during the Second World War, where his chemistry training and love of photography led him to open Benjamin Film Laboratories, a film processing company. 

But it was the challenge of capturing the launch on film that intrigued George Benjamin.

"One of the key things was the difficulty in taking a photograph of this launch because of the incredible amount of thrust and the bright light that comes from that thrust," said Juris.

"For him, to have that calculated to make sure you don't overexpose or underexpose was the challenge that really was a big thing for him, as well as being there to witness such a monumental event."

It was the challenge for him, and to be part of something, especially for Canada and the world of photography.- Juris Benjamin

He said it was an incredible experience for his grandfather.

"From what my father told me, he was very, very excited.… He was absolutely elated and it was one of his most favourite moments," said Juris.

"It was the challenge for him, and to be part of something — especially for Canada and for the world of photography — because it is a challenging moment to capture."

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