From the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945, photographers from all around the world have made it their mission to put a face on “this culturally invisible, damnably everlasting bomb of ours: to make the invisible visible,” says Robert Del Tredici, founder of the Atomic Photographers Guild.
In the 1980s, Del Tredici made it his mission to seek out others who were also focusing on nuclear issues through photography and photomedia elsewhere in the world. He then began coordinating atomic image-makers into an organized network.
The APG was founded in 1987 is made up of 27 (and growing) photographers worldwide who aim to render visible all aspects of the nuclear age.
Del Tredici says: “The Guild has built up an archive of images of nuclear weapons pioneers, workers, victims and activists, as well as nuclear-impacted landscapes, buildings and machines. We aim to show things that have not been seen before. We want to get people to realize that nuclear weapons are not only symbols, though they are almost exclusively discussed as if they were symbols.”
For the most recent APG exhibition, Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age, Harris Fogel and Del Tredici wrote: “The Guild releases its images in books, on gallery walls, and over the web so others can piece together the fragments of what may well prove to be our darkest, most enduring legacy.”
Robert Del Tredici
I first clashed with fissioned atoms in 1979 at Three Mile Island while documenting the faces, places, and voices of America’s worst nuclear accident. Then I went after nuclear weapons, first meeting the survivors of Hiroshima, then photographing the men and machines of the Bomb throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, and the former Soviet Union.
All along the way I met other image-makers bent, like myself, on capturing different facets of the world’s nuclear arsenals. In 1987 we pooled our energies and images to contribute towards revealing the Big Picture of a nearly invisible entity in its own mostly unseen universe.
Members of the Atomic Photographers Guild aim to capture the heft, grit and impact of the nuclear age — an age that has altered the course of human history but exists so covertly that most people think of the Bomb as an abstraction. The Guild works to release its images in books, on walls, and over the web so others can piece together the fragments of what could be our darkest, most enduring legacy.