Trinity, 0.16

5:29, June 16, 1945, Jornada del Muerto desert.

The first ever nuclear bomb explosion. Berlyn Brixner is on site, documenting the event with 50 cameras of varying speeds running from different locations to capture the shot in full motion. 16 ms after the explosion he captures his most famous photograph - a white-gray, unnaturally perfect dome of dust towering over a dark desert. The photo was originally banned, “since it was considered far more provocative than the habitual mushroom cloud.” Unlike a cloud, the bubble did not look natural.

This gesture of censorship was a starting point for me to reflect on photography as a medium and the strenght of the associations which it carries within itself. Public acceptance of the Manhattan Project, and later the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was dependent on the images by which American citizens got to know them. This phenomenon inspired me to start asking people about their associations with the

censored Brixner photograph. I ran the collected keywords - which varied from dead soldier’s helmet to lollipop - through the Internet Archive library, creating a chain of subconscious images.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Stay in the loop