The blockbuster film Hidden Figures revealed the remarkable role African-American women played in NASA’s early efforts at space exploration.
Although images from the film have become an iconic representation of the women of NASA, if you are working on a Black History Month article or broadcast, you’ll want to find historical stock photos of the real people depicted in the film.
The great news is that many images of the real women of Hidden Figures are available to license as stock photos.
Although many of these images originally come from NASA handouts, several have since been digitally colorized, providing a new visual perspective on this amazing story. Others have been carefully restored and edited.
Photos of the women of Hidden Figures
In the early days of NASA, computers weren’t machines; they were people!
Technical workers like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and their team performed the laborious calculations and mathematical work that allowed spacecraft to reach orbit safely, and later reach the moon.Embed from Getty Images
Sometimes these talented women performed calculations by hand; other times they used electronic adding machines and other then-groundbreaking technologies. Photos from the time period capture the important work they did.
Like many photos of the 1950s-1960s, the originals are black and white. However, new techniques allow for the colorization of many of these images.
Our gallery includes newly colorized images of Katherine Johnson and the other women of Hidden Figures from Getty.
The Future of Computing at NASA
As the film Hidden Figures makes clear, although many of these women initially started in low-level technical roles performing manual calculations, several became computer programmers at NASA.
The space agency was one of the first organizations to adopt large digital computers from companies like IBM.
Thankfully, many of these early computing breakthroughs are also captured in historical stock photos.
The women of Hidden Figures provide a powerful example of a positive Black History story, as well as an inspirational tale of human achievement.
Although the movie does an excellent job of telling their story, turning to historical stock photos of the real women behind these early technical breakthroughs is a great way to build reported feature pieces or videos on topics ranging from African-American history to women in STEM fields.
Check out some of the powerful images depicting NASA’s influential human computers, which you can license for your next creative project.