Tag Archives: Atomic Photographers Guild

Snapshots of the nuclear age

19 Nov

From Our Colorado News, October 18, 2012

Rocky Flats may be closed, but its effects still cast a shadow
By Clarke Reader, Photo by Andy Carpenean

In an effort to offer a place for discussion from all parties, and to show all generations what the birth and progression of the nuclear age looked like, the Rocky Flats Cold War Museum has opened in Olde Town Arvada, 5612 Yukon St.

“We want to show the story of Rocky Flats from multiple perspectives — the environmental issues, the life of the workers and the people who protested it,” said Conny Bogaard, project manager. “The goal is to build a platform where the community can come together to examine the legacy.”
The museum’s inaugural exhibit is “Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age,” an Atomic Photographers Guild collection of photos of the landscapes, people and aftermaths of nuclear testing and power plants. The exhibit runs through Nov. 30.

The exhibit is curated by Robert Del Tredici, the founder of the Atomic Photographers Guild, and features not only photos of the history of Rocky Flats, but also of the Trinity Explosion in Alamogordo, N.M., and photos from Yoshito Matsushige, the only photographer allowed to photograph Hiroshima after the bombing.
The social impacts are also documented with photos of protests after the disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
“This exhibit is partly a story of Colorado and local concerns, but it also shows the global concern,” Bogaard said.

Local photographer Carole Gallagher, who has spent years documenting the lives of those affected by nuclear use, has a display of her works about people who lived near the testing in Nevada.
Gallagher, who grew up in New York City, said she was raised during the time of great fear of a nuclear strike being imminent.

“I always wondered what happened to the people who lived near the testing areas,” she said. “So in my work I focused on workers, downwinders and atomic veterans.”
Gallagher said she really came to admire the workers at these sites, who really put their lives on the line for their country. Many of Gallagher’s stark, black and white photos, show people who lived in Nevada while nuclear tests were going on and were told that they were safe, only to develop a wide-range of health issues, including a variety of cancers and bone diseases.
“This exhibit really has captured the first moments of the nuclear age, and when it will end we don’t know,” Gallagher said.

Bogaard is careful to note that the museum and its exhibit is not a condemnation of nuclear power or Rocky Flats, but is a place that brings to light issues about nuclear use that still are up for debate.
“We raise a lot of questions, and it’s not necessarily about having the answers,” she said. “Instead, we want it to be something people think and talk about, and come away with a new understanding.”

The museum is open noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information call 720-287-1717 or visit www.rockyflatsmuseum.org.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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



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

1 Oct

Founded by photographer Robert Del Tredici in 1987, the Atomic Photographers Guild is an international collective of photographers dedicated to making visible all aspects of the nuclear world. This show highlights history’s gravest nuclear accident, still ongoing, in Fukushima, with special acknowledgment of the work of Kenji Higuchi of Tokyo. Higuchi is the preeminent photographer of Japan’s nuclear workers. The exhibition was curated by Robert Del Tredici and Harris Fogel.

Behind the Atom Curtain: Life and Death in the Nuclear Age features the work of 24 photographers including: Berlyn Brixner, Yoshito Matsushige, Jessie Boylan, Dan Budnik, James Crnkovich, Robert Del Tredici, Blake Fitzpatrick, Nancy Floyd, Harris Fogel, Carole Gallagher, Peter Goin, Kenji Higuchi, John Hooton, Igor Kostin, Yuri Kuidin, James Lerager, David McMillan, Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani, Barbara Norfleet, Mark Ruwedel, Paul Shambroom, elin o’Hara slavick, Vaclav Vasku, and Günther Zint.

Sep 23—Oct 22 2011

Sol Mednick Gallery

Terra Hall

211 South Broad Street 15th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19107

United States
Melissa Calder
tel: 215.717.6300

The World’s Worst Meltdown

27 Sep

The World’s Worst Meltdown

By photojournalist Kenji Higuchi of Tokyo

The greatest earthquake in Japan’s history (Richter 9.0) struck the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, 2011. A devastating tsunami followed. An early count of the dead and missing numbered 20,000, and the number is rising. Japan’s major power company –The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) – owns the 6 reactors damaged during the blackout that followed the quake and tsunami. Without electricity, the emergency core cooling systems for the reactors failed. Back-up generators and batteries kicked in, but they soon failed as well. The result is the world’s worst nuclear accident. And it is not over yet.

Everybody knows that earthquakes bring tsunamis.  But TEPCO failed to fully integrate this knowledge into its systems. And after its cooling systems failed, TEPCO insisted that a hydrogen gas explosion would never happen. But on March 12 the world saw the huge explosion in Reactor 1; it saw another explosion in Reactor 3 the next day; two days after that it saw a third hydrogen gas explosion rock Reactor 2. And Reactor 4, with its fires and damaged spent fuel pool, is in a critical state. Yet even now, every day, we have to listen to people calling this catastrophe “beyond expectations” – academics do it, intellectuals do it, journalists and financiers do it. They do it because they get paid for promoting nuclear power. Whenever these pro-nuclear people appear in the media, I find them scarier than the earthquake and tsunami combined. This accident was not “beyond expectations” at all – it was an accident that was bound to happen once corporate greed became more important than human beings.

Sub-contractors always get brought in to do our nuclear dirty work. They like the jobs but are told little of the dangers. To stabilize the Fukushima reactors, every day more than 3,000 subcontract workers get sent into hot zones. I believe these workers will sicken and die within 10 years. Chernobyl is evidence of that. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces also get sent in. These young people do not really understand the dangers of nuclear power. When I hear that people are living within 30 km. of the reactors, I know they are trapped in a sea of radiation. I think that their lives will soon become tragic. Every day since the accident, TEPCO and the government have been telling lies. One result is a big food problem. The first sign came when cattle were fed hay contaminated by cesium, and the beef was sold to cities throughout Japan, so a lot of people ate it.  Contaminated vegetables and fruits are also being sold and eaten. Sometimes the government recommends people not sell or eat produce from Fukushima. But there is no oversight or enforcement. And some of the radioactivity pouring out of the Fukushima reactors has been carried on the wind to Tokyo. Yet professor Keiichi Nakagawa of the Department of Radiology at Tokyo University Hospital has repeatedly said on TV that “it is impossible for people in Tokyo to be adversely affected by radiation from Fukushima. This radiation will have no impact on human bodies.”  This academic calls himself an expert; but he receives funding from the nuclear industry, and he has never been to Fukushima.

We call people damaged by radiation “hibakusha” (“explosion-affected persons”).  I have been documenting Japan’s nuclear industry hibakusha for 40 years.

Consider how many radiation victims this catastrophe will create.  On March 14 we heard that 160 people near the damaged reactors had become hibakusha. Evacuations were first ordered for residents within a 5 km. radius of the plant; then it ordered people within a 10 km. radius to go, then within 20 km., then within 30 km. The evacuation zone should have begun at 30 km. — this is where evacuations began for people near Chernobyl.  I believe that the total number of radiation casualties coming out of Fukushima will turn out to be more than we are able to imagine.

For 40 years the God of Nuclear has been soothing the minds and hearts of people with the mantra that it is Cheap, Clean, Safe, Abundant, and Peaceful. Finally the God of Nuclear is getting its come-uppance. It now finds itself on the brink of collapse. This is the time for Japan to go back to Square One to fashion a new energy policy. It is time to put an end to nuclear power and cross over into natural energy.

I have succeeded in getting to Fukushima only once so far, and I have so far once visited some of the shelters for people who fled the danger zone. In one shelter a guard tried to confiscate my film. He did not get it. I will document Fukushima more because there are important lessons to be learned here. Sooner or later history will make those lessons known. The sooner we figure out what those lessons are, the better. One lesson is already clear: nuclear reactors do not bring happiness — they bring nothing but tragedy.

Mahatma Ghandi had seven things he wanted to warn people against carved onto his tombstone. He called them “the Seven Social Sins.” I agree with nuclear engineer Koide Hiroaki from the  Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, who recommends that we call Ghandi’s seven social sins “The Seven Nuclear Sins”. They are:

Politics Without Power

Wealth Without Work

Pleasure Without Conscience

Knowledge Without Character

Commerce Without Morality

Science Without Humanity

Worship Without Sacrifice.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.