The Gay Space Agency with Mackenzie Calle

© Nadezda Nikolova
Event Date: Thur, September 14, 2023 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM MST

Photography increasingly serves as a medium for rewriting and reclaiming history. Join photographer Mackenzie Calle for a conversation on her project, “The Gay Space Agency,” which addresses the historical inequities faced by the LGBTQ+ community in astronautics. 

Reckoning with a history that required astronauts to take heterosexuality tests, this work confronts the American space program’s documented exclusion of queer astronauts, and imagines a future which celebrates queerness and highlights LGBTQ+ role models. To date, 339 Americans have trained as NASA astronauts; none have flown into space as an openly LGBTQ+ person. In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Her sexuality would not become public until 2012, when her obituary read, “Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy.” Since then, two other astronauts’ LGBTQ+ identities have become public after going into space. As NASA’s Artemis program aims to establish a permanent presence on the moon beginning in 2025, “The Gay Space Agency” asks us to confront our institutional past and reevaluate who is allowed to create history moving forward.

Mackenzie will take participants through an overview of the project, from conception to her current work photographing NASA astronauts. She will also discuss her research process, which includes extensive investigation of the NASA image and document archives. This conversation will be followed by a short question and answer session with the audience. Even if you can’t make the live event, a recording of it will be available for all those registered.

Mackenzie Calle is a creative documentary photographer who blurs the line between documentary and fiction to explore forgotten histories and queer experiences. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and worked for five years as a photography producer and photographer at NBCUniversal. She was awarded the Director’s Fellowship to attend the Documentary Photography and Visual Journalism program at the International Center of Photography. “The Gay Space Agency” was awarded the Magnum Foundation Counter Histories Grant and has been featured by the International Center for Photography, Lenscratch, and Photoville. Originally from Southern California, Mackenzie is now based in Brooklyn, New York. 

“The Gay Space Agency” would not have been possible without the support of the Magnum Foundation.

Creativity Continues is a way to connect, encouraging expression, and is a collective way to develop creative voices. The goal is to engage all within our creative community. We encourage extending invitations and sharing Santa Fe Workshops Creativity Continues events with any whom express an interest.


Event Recording

Many thanks to everyone who joined us live. View the recorded program below:

Santa Fe Workshops Creativity Continues The Gay Space Agency with Mackenzie Calle