Camera Atomica
a photography exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario

below: The first photograph of the bones of the hand, by Wilhelm Rontgen in 1895.    Rontgen was a German physicist who discovered x-rays (or Rontgen rays) in 1895 and he produced this image of his wife’s hand shortly after.  The green in the picture below is a reflection of the chandelier that the AGO has hanging in the room where this exhibit is being shown.

An xray picture of a hand.

The exhibit consists of more than 200 works that all fall under the category of nuclear – topics such as atomic weapons, Cold War politics, nuclear energy, and the mining of uranium.  The photographs cover the history of these topics from 1945 to the present, from the development of the atomic bomb to the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011.

below: Hiroshima Japan, photo by Yoshito Matsushige, taken 6 August 1945.
The first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity test site in New Mexico USA on 14 July 1945.  Shortly after, American bombers dropped two atomic bombs on Japan.  The first bomb was dropped 6th August 1945 on the city of  Hiroshima and second one three days later on Nagasaki.

An old black and white photo taken in Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb during WW2

below: Photo by Dean Loomis, 7 May 1955 of scorched male mannequin standing in the desert 7,000 feet from the 44th nuclear test explosion at Yucca Flat Nevada.  Photo taken the day after the blast.  Apparently mannequins were used to test the effects of the nuclear blasts on people and this photo shows that people at 7000 feet from a blast could be burnt but alive.

Picture of a black and white silver gelatin print from 1955 by Dean Loomis showing a male mannequin in a black suit who has been partially knocked over by a nuclear test blast in the Nevada desert.

below: Mushroom clouds on a wall

A collage of photos of nuclear blast mushroom clouds. There are about 25 colour and black and white photos hanging on a wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario

below:  Part of  ‘Uranium Tailings #2, Elliot Lake Ontario’ a photograph by Edward Burtynsky.

Eliot Lake was established in 1955 as a mining town after uranium was discovered in the area.  In the early 1990’s the mines closed because of depleted reserves and low prices for uranium.

Tailings are the materials left over after the valuable part of an ore has been removed.  The uranium ore found at Eliot Lake had very little uranium in it, only about 0.1% of the ore was uranium.

Close up of part of a photograph by Edward Burtynsky titled Uranium Tailings #2, Elliot Lake Ontario. It is a picture of a desolate swampy looking terrain where all the vegetation is dead. The trees have been reduced to dead poles.

below:  Inkjet prints by David McMillan, part of four on display from his series of photographs of places abandoned because of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.   The photograph on the right is of the nursery at Pripyat Hospital taken in 1997.   Beside it is a picture of a classroom in a Pripyat nursery school.

Pripyat is an abandoned city in northern Ukraine.  It was built in 1970 to service the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant.  Following the explosion and fire at Chernobyl on 26 April 1986, the city’s 49,000 people were evacuated

Two photographs on a wall. The one in the foreground shows an abandoned hospital nursery in Pripyat Ukraine, abandoned after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

A young man is half squatting as he leans back to get a better look at the words on the wall of an art gallery that accompany three black and white photographs.

The exhibit continues until 15th November.


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