Autoportrait Jef Bonifacino
© Jef Bonifacino



With an academic background in visual arts and art history at the University of Bordeaux, Jef Bonifacino has been a freelance photographer since 2011 and is a founding member of Inland, an international cooperative of fourteen long term documentary photographers. He develops projects at the crossroads of art and documentary, most often long term on social or environmental themes. He thus establishes links between different spaces in order to question the relationship of Man to his environment and history. To date, he is the author of about thirty exhibitions in France and abroad.

Jef Bonifacino is the winner of Résidence Factory #13.

He is in residence from June 1 to July 13 at the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse, for a project entitled Unseen Apollo.

From 1961 to 1972, NASA’s Apollo program mobilized 400,000 people and sent 27 men to travel around the moon. Six missions landed successfully on the Moon, and 12 men walked on its surface. They carried out a number of scientific experiments and collected 382 kg of rock. From Apollo 4 to Apollo 17, astronauts set off equipped with Hasselblad medium-format cameras, bringing back film containing 19788 photographs. During the six successive missions to the Moon, they took 13887 photographs.

Jef Bonifacino shows lunar exploration through a subjective re-reading of Hasselblad photographs from the Apollo missions, offering a new narrative without chronological reference points. In his initial collection, the photographer favors silver photographs considered anecdotal, technical, with flare, negative edges, poor framing or exposure, but which possess an unexploited suggestive power or capacity for wonder.

Unseen Apollo reveals the human fragility and accidental magic of the silver medium. 51 years after man’s last steps on the Moon and before the next Artemis missions, UNSEEN APOLLO offers a new vision of lunar exploration, a last look at the past, a dream of the future. For the astronauts, there was no room for doubt or hesitation – failure was not an option – and little room during their missions for dreaming or contemplation.

In Unseen Apollo, light becomes subject, wonder is permitted, loss is allowed and disappearance is possible.

"The original purpose of these astronaut silver photographs was primarily scientific and political. It is time to bring them to express their photographic and artistic potential in order to renew our representations of lunar exploration."

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