Behind the scenes on our Bowie-inspired Chris Hadfield cover

Why we gave the astronaut the rock-star treatment


After Chris Hadfield’s command of the International Space Station made him a global celebrity, Maclean’s thought it was only appropriate to give the astronaut the rock-star treatment during our recent cover photo shoot.

Taking inspiration from Hadfield’s world-uniting rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, photographer Christopher Wahl asked the astronaut to replicate Bowie’s famed image from the cover of his Aladdin Sane album.

“He went full-bore with it. I explained we needed bare shoulders as opposed to the collared shirt he was wearing, so he happily took it off,” says Wahl, who ensured the lighting during the shoot also matched Bowie’s album perfectly. “He was fully participating—it was awesome. I was on a portrait high for a day and a half afterward.”

Related reading

Good Morning Earth: The inside story of Canada’s first space station commander
A photo tour of NASA with Chris Hadfield
An interactive exploration of the Hadfield universe

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Behind the scenes on our Bowie-inspired Chris Hadfield cover

  1. We need more people like Chris Hadfield. And his son, who helped him develop his online persona. People who appreciate awesome, who talk about what is wonderful, who help to create a community of people who want this betterness (yes, I just made up that word).

    • I agreed.

  2. Chris is doing great. He has inspired us with great pictures taken from space. Before him, we do not know a lot about ISS and down looking from ISS. After him, I am following space related stories very eagerly. Finally, his equal attitude to all nations could be a breathe to mankind’s brothership..

  3. Chris didn’t just show us space as others before him have. He invited us to come along and in doing so gave us a more inspiring perspective of our planed and a renewed passion for the Space program.

  4. Chris managed to make his job and fellow space-men approachable and relatable. Hats off to a awesome individual.

  5. Thank you Col. Hatfield for helping space missions and astronauts be more cool and inspirational. It’s not enough to send rockets into space, or send back photos from Mars. The more the world hears from fellow humans up in space, the more we can learn to see the world as they do – as one planet, and one people.

  6. Chris and his entire family are epic, brilliant, inspiring people.

  7. cool

  8. Col. Hatfield, PLEASE come and help straighten up these idiots ( that I do Pray for) running our Country at the moment because it keeps us from doing great things you and 1000’s of others have served your whole life for here in the USA, your Country & so many other Countries. Plus we can’t see space no more on the internet. They have got to get it together maybe the knuckleheads would listen to you and work everything out and agree on stuff. I know it’s a BIG dream more than likely, but it all sounds good on here.

    Thanks to you, you got me all excited at age 50 about our world outside of the rim of it. I really could of cared less before, but oneday a friend had a video posted on her site of you on the ISS and I watch it in awe of something I knew nothing about…. The ISS. God what i’d do somedays to have a telescope just to sit outside and gaze through the lens of one and see something more that what the naked eye can. My motto is not “someday” but “oneday” I will.
    Anyways, Thanks and you are Loved Col. Hatfield!

    PS, Love the Bowie look!!!

    • haDDDDDfield!!!

  9. Hollywood could certainly rip a page out of Chris Hadfield’s extraordinary life and learn what being a true ‘Star’ really is. You are….. amazing, inspiring and a truly humble man.

  10. GREAT!!!!!!!!

  11. Chris Hadfield has been and continues to be an amazing ambassador for Canada as well as a role model for youth here and abroad. He presented the world to us on a platter with a running commentary. With this global perspective, each of us could see how we ‘fit’ into the planet. If only our global politicians could align their objectives accordingly.

  12. He is so awesome!

  13. This man rocks…totally

  14. Capital “A” Awesome. Hadfield rocks. Bet his son is cringing, lol.