Mar 5, 2020
Norah started photography in high school, from a camera her father gave her. By playing around with her camera and just shooting pictures, she fell in love with photography. Then she went to school to study imaging and photographic technology. After several NASA summer internships and lots of networking, Norah was brought on at NASA Johnson Space Center as a Science Photographer. You can see her talented work, along with her colleagues at www.images.nasa.gov
Norah got her first NASA internship at the NASA Langley Research Center, working on videos and interviews for several projects. Discovering the archives at Langley had the most incredible things- flags, scuba gear! Then Norah got a contact at NASA Ames Research Center for her next internship, and learned how to photograph lasers with mirrors and light source. A brave application later to Johnson Space Center for a full-time photographer position landed her the job that allows her to see everything that happens within the entire center!
Every day’s assignment is different at NASA JSC- you never know what’s next, so there’s lots of fun to be had and lots to learn. Norah set up a baseball field shoot to test the Artemis space suits’ movement capabilities! You can see the baseball shot at www.Images.NASA.gov.
“I was taking all of the art classes and I was missing science. I didn’t feel challenged the way I wanted to be challenged, so I went to a panel of graduates from all of the photo degrees, and discovered a NASA photographer who talked about his work and the idea of working for NASA was something that got in my brain and that was it for me. I applied to every internship I could!”
“My all-time favorite assignment I got to do it train/ camp with the new astronaut class when they did their required geology studies for a week and I got to camp with them and learn, too!...I set up my camera and got to shoot time-lapse photos of the stars every night. They are called star trails. One of the astronauts that came along was Don Pettit, and we got to talk about star trails from the space station that he saw, and the star trails I was shooting from the Earth from the dessert. It was really cool.”
“There were a lot of qualified candidates to choose from when I applied for my position. I asked the person who hired me what shoot out to select me. He said it was my passion and excitement for NASA that allowed me to be selected.”
What’s next for Norah? Shooting high-speed photography from simulations and tests that need images from some pretty fast photos (think launches, tests and planned explosions)!
Some advice from up and coming artists who may want to work for NASA from Norah:
“There are so many creative opportunities needed here at NASA, like lighting, audio engineers, videographers, producers, it’s not just scientists and engineers. Apply for EVERYTHING, it does not matter if you have all the qualifications. And wherever you are, network. It’s what got me here. Always be open to talking to people about what you love.”