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Nuclear photography: Making the invisible visible

4 Dec Nevada Test Site from American Ground Zero

Nuclear photography: Making the invisible visible
Carole Gallagher

Published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists November/December 2013 vol. 69 no. 6 42-46

In this essay, the author explores whether nuclear catastrophe is beyond the reach of art. A documentary photographer, she reflects on her own work capturing the lives of those who lived downwind of the nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site in the United States. Many years after being immersed in the project for a decade, and documenting the effects of 1,000 nuclear devices that had exploded above this population, the author finally arrives at the answer to her question.

American Ground Zero cancer Mormon Nevada nuclear test photography

When the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, two types of photographs captured this gripping moment: those that showed a mushroom cloud on the horizon, and those that depicted devastated cities and the many survivors who had been burned beyond recognition. From that year until today, 125,000 nuclear warheads have been constructed, and nine countries have nuclear weapon capability (Kristensen and Norris, 2013). So when thinking about art and destruction, it might be fair to ask: Is art at all effective in reminding the world of the destructive impulses that lead to war, and is art effective in subduing humanity’s urge—and possibly need—to fight wars? The answer, at least in terms of art in the nuclear age, is possibly no. Art, when produced at a distance—from an artist studio or loft, say—cannot stop nuclear proliferation. It cannot stop a war.

Read the rest of the essay here.

Dan Budnik: Marching To The Freedom Dream

25 Sep

News from Dan Budnik, Atomic Photographer

Dear friends and colleagues,Less than a month ago the Kickstarter campaign raised £ 10,000, which guaranteed the initial printing costs for the publication of my Civil Rights book,Marching To The Freedom Dream, to be published by Trolley Books in the Spring of 2014. It will consist of my comprehensive editing of three seminal marches that I photographed between 1958 and 1963.

August 28th of this year was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Commemorating this event, TIME magazine did a special double issue featuring my photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the cover, with an additional four spreads inside this collector’s issue. On the same day Trolley Books started it’s Kickstarter campaign in London with an opening exhibition with my photographs of the three marches in their gallery.

I would like to thank all who contributed to make the first financial goal a swift reality. Now we are in the final week of the Kickstarter campaign and we are appealing to those who may want to contribute towards the total costs of £ 30,000 for a book that honors Dr. King’s non-violent legacy – also, I am very proud that none of my photographs contain any overt violence.My initial contribution of two original 8×10 inch gelatin silver prints of the TIME cover image were quickly sold, now in this last week we have decided to add several new attractive options for pledging. Among those are the limited edition of the book, the special signed cover of TIME magazine and two additional 8×10 inch gelatin silver images: Coretta Scott King and MLK, Jr. holding hands, and Rev. Frederick Shuttlesworth eulogizing the neo-martyr Jimmy Lee Jackson. Please consult the Kickstarter website for all existing options.
This book has been a dream of mine for many years. Now this dream is fast becoming a reality and it will be quite wonderful to see a beautiful publication that honors the leaders and “foot soldiers” who served and sacrificed to make the Civil Rights movement a global role model for all of mankind’s oppressed people. I thank you for your involvement and financial support.
With my regard and all good wishes,
Dan Budnik

Behind the Atom Curtain: Foto Freo Divergence Exhibition

20 Apr

From the 14th of March to the 15th of April the Atomic Photographers Guild exhibited their group show Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age as part of the ‘Divergence: Photographs from Elsewhere’ exhibition at the massive Midland Atelier warehouse in Midland, Perth, as part of the biannual month-long photography festival FotoFreo. Around 500 people attended the opening night of all the exhibitions; which also included works by Martin Parr, Sohrab Hura, Bharat Sikka, Sam Harris, Chandan Ahuja (India), Nigel Bennet (Italy/UK), Ellen Bornkessel (Germany), Sara Jane Boyers (USA), Vita Buivid (Russia), Sundari Carmody (Australia), Neil Chowdhury (USA), Martin Cox (USA), Jagath Dheerasekara (Australia/Sri Lanka), Catarina Diedrich (Spain), Eva Fernandez (Australia), Andrew George (USA), Denis Glennon AO (Australia), Natalie Grono (Australia), Alan Hill & Kelly Hussey-Smith (Australia), Edwin Janes (Australia), Rhea Karam (USA/Lebanon), Munish Khanna (India), Andrej Kocis (Australia), David Manley (Australia), Prudence Murphy (Australia), Matthew Newton (Australia), Sarah Rhodes (Australia), Maurizio Salvati (Australia), Jan Schuenke (Germany), Flavia Schuster (Argentina)
Natasha Shulte (Ukraine), Marc Shoul (South Africa), Lia Steele (Australia), Michael Stone (Australia), Gemma-Rose Turnbull (Australia), Salih Urek (Turkey), Elizabeth Wintle (UK), Josh Wodak (Australia)
Art Wolfe (USA).

The public program on Saturday the 17th of March was a day long event dedicated to artists’ talks. The APG’s only Australian photographer, Jessie Boylan, spoke first up in the morning to over 30 people. The exhibition received great interest, with many people being unaware of the issues represented in the work beyond a superficial level.

A review of the whole of Divergence show can be found here.

Jessie Boylan gives a talk as part of the Atomic Photographers Guild


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Atomic Photographers exhibit in Australia

29 Feb

The Atomic Photographers Guild are exhibiting Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age, as part of Divergence, Photographs from ElsewhereA monumental showcase of photography by over sixty photographers from fifteen countries at the historic Midland Railway Workshops site in Perth, Western Australia, from the 14th of March to the 15th of April, as part of the FotoFreo festival.

Click here to read an interview with Bob Del Tredici and Jessie Boylan about the by FORM Gallery in Perth: Page 9
About the exhibition:
Founded by photographer Robert Del Tredici in 1987, the Atomic Photographers Guild is an international grass-roots collective of photographers dedicated to making visible all aspects of the nuclear age.

Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age features the work of 24 members of the Atomic Photographers Guild, including Berlyn Brixner and Yoshito Matsushige, Guild elders — Brixner having photographed the first atomic explosion in the Alamogordo Desert; and Matsushige, the sole photographer in Hiroshima the day the A-bomb exploded overhead; Robert Del Tredici (the US Nuclear Weapons Complex, Canadian uranium), Kenji Higuchi (Japanese Nuclear Power), Carole Gallagher (Atomic Veterans & Utah & Nevada Downwinders), Harris Fogel (the Trinity Site), Gunter Zint (mass demonstrations against German nuclear installations), Yuri Kuidin (opposition to Soviet nuclear tests), Dan Budnik (uranium mining in the American Southwest), Patrick Nagatani (nuclear realities in the American Southwest ), James Lerager (Atomic Veterans, Chernobyl), Peter Goin (nuclear landscapes), Paul Shambroom (nuclear weapons post-Cold War), James Crnkovich (US nuclear pop culture), Blake Fitzpatrick (the Port Hope uranium refinery in Ontario), Nancy Floyd (nuclear power workers in California), John Hooton (missile silos in North Dakota), Igor Kostin, David McMillan, and Vaclav Vasku (Chernobyl), Barbara Norfleet (nuclear landscapes), Jessie Boylan (nuclear tests in Australia), and elin o’Hara slavick (Hiroshima).

This exhibit first opened at the Sol Mednick Gallery at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia last fall. Curated by Robert Del Tredici and Harris Fogel, it presented a variety of aesthetic, cultural, scientific, and conceptual responses to the challenge of the nuclear age. In November of 2011 the show opened in Vienna in the Sala Terena Gallery at the University of Applied Arts. This is its third venue, co-curated by Guild member Jessie Boylan of Melbourne, Australia.

Each photographer focuses on different facets of the nuclear age. From portraits of the founders of the nuclear era to contemporary nuclear scientists, from to the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island to the full meltdown at Chernobyl and the tattered social fabric around Fukushima, from survivors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and above-ground atomic tests to all the H-bomb factories of the US, Behind the Atom Curtain lifts the veil on nuclear landscapes and cultures throughout America, Europe, Russia, and Japan.

It addresses history’s deadliest nuclear accident, still unfolding, in Fukushima, by featuring the work of Kenji Higuchi of Tokyo. Higuchi has for forty years been the preeminent photographer of Japan’s nuclear workers. Guild members have in common the aim to capture the heft, grit and impact of the nuclear age  — an age that has altered the course of history but exists so covertly that most people think of the Bomb as an abstraction. 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.

Photographic Aftermaths; a lecture by elin o’Hara slavick

2 Oct

A Lecture by elin o’Hara slavick

Presented by the Photography Program in conjunction with the Atomic Photographers Guild exhibition

Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age

Meet the artist following the lecture in the Mednick Gallery;
Room 1504, Terra Hall, 211 South Broad Street, Philadelphia,
Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 12:00 noon.

For more information: 215-717-6300/www.uarts.edu

 

 

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