A Postcard from Mars

Space Tourism Brought Forward Several Decades in this Humorous Photography Series

“I’ve been fascinated with Mars since I was a child,” says Paris-based photographer Julien Mauve. His latest series Greetings from Mars explores how a couple might act when taking their holiday snaps on the Red Planet. Selfie sticks and all.

“Space exploration and colonisation is the greatest adventure of the century and the fact that we may witness it in our life-time (just as our parents and grand-parents did in the 60’s) makes it even more exciting. The Internet nearly broke when Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere, just imagine the day the first man will put a feet on Mars!”

Julien is clearly inspired by the subject matter. But he’s also interested in the new visual languages we’ve developed via social media and that’s really apparent in this latest series. “I want to tell stories, to create photographic universes that trigger imagination, to deal with things that touch me as a human being living in the 21st century.”

We entered the stratosphere with Julien to find out more.

The Plus: What message were you trying to convey with this series ?
Julien Mauve:

I’m an artist and a photographer and I like to observe people, I like to see how they act, how they use pictures to convey their feelings. The first time I saw someone taking a picture with an iPad, I was really amused. Same thing with the selfie stick.

These are all tourist habits that have developed with photography, technology and the ability to share when we’re on the spot. I just wanted to include this in the project because that’s part of our species and who we are today and I assumed we would act the same on another planet even though (I hope) we would have gotten rid of selfie sticks by then!

TP: Would you like to travel into space if you had the chance ?
Sure! But I’m not really into this Mars One spirit which basically consists of going on the planet to start a colony and never coming back. I would miss Earth too much. We are an intelligent species and we are able to adapt but we’ve been “designed” to live on Earth.
As fun as experiencing Mars would be, I’d always love lying on the grass in the sun, listening to water dripping or pouring, eating good food and drinking good wine. I’m not sure Mars would be a good place for epicureans!

TP: Shooting in the desert must have posed some unique challenges, can you tell us about them?
There were only two of us working on this project and we had to wear the suits ourselves so yes, it was pretty uncomfortable and very hot. On some pictures, the camera is triggered with my phone in WIFI but other times, I simply used the old-fashioned 10-second timer and quickly had to run in the middle of the desert in my full space-suit to be in the frame!

Heat would not be a problem on Mars since the planet has a tiny atmosphere that makes it very cold, but you are definitely screwed the moment you want to scratch your nose.