Jay Gould: Escape Velocity

In Escape Velocity, Jay Gould explores drive, diligence, and delight within the specialized culture of weekend model rocket enthusiasts. Some of those depicted are amateurs “taking their first steps into hands-on science,” as Gould described it, while others are aerospace professionals whose workday challenges extend into their leisure pursuits. Model rocket groups grew in popularity during the early years of the “space race” and encourage members to use safe materials: cardboard, plastic, and balsa wood, propelled by single-use motors and outfitted with recovery devices. Gould, who briefly studied engineering and makes work bridging the arts and sciences, sees clear links between the two disciplines. “No matter what path we choose,” he says, “whether it’s through art or space… we seek solace in exploring the unknown and learning what we can from it.” Shot on Saturday mornings, in various states, and in fields far from metropolitan centers, these photographs underscore the equal roles that both intense focus and awe play in our scientific engagements and adventures.