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The Trinity test site is where the Atomic Age began. This new technological period promised to use the innovations of nuclear science to solve society's woes. However, those promises fell short as the technology generated unforeseen social issues: the nuclear arm race, reactor meltdowns and problems regarding the disposal of radioactive waste. Trinity’s landscape is literally and figuratively charged by the consequences of nuclear testing, research, and the discoveries which occurred there. Using a variety of photographic techniques — ranging from traditional analog picture-making to contemporary digital post-production methods — I turn to the landscape to look at the reverberations of history and technology.
Critic Mark Fisher describes the concept of hauntology as a temporal disjunction; the past and future haunt over the present, serving as a reminder of what never came. I allude to the multiple forms of physical and immaterial exposure that the Trinity land was subjected to through various types of photographic exposure. Traditionally-made multiple exposures give the landscape a spectral appearance. Like the promises of the Atomic Age, traces of the landscape are present within the photos, yet have not fully materialized.
In a nuclear chain reaction, atoms break apart and convert their mass into energy. In my work, this change is symbolized by digitally composited photographs. In these images, multiple negatives are scanned, and then aligned in Photoshop. Once aligned, the negatives are then merged with the use of an algorithm. The individual images are broken down and then recombined using elements from each photograph.
Drawing on the failed promises of the Atomic Age, my photographs use the transformational power of the camera and computer to connect themes of absence, beauty, and destruction as they relate to the historical context of the site. The images build on the significance of Trinity as a way to explore technology’s relationship to nature, the consequences of perceived advancement, and the ways in which landscape holds history.