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Associated Press, H-Bomb Can “Destroy” City, Says AEC Chairman, New York,

March 31, 1954. Collection of John O’Brian.

Available Now:

Camera Atomica

Edited by John O’Brian


304 pages

Special exhibition price £20

(RRP £24.95)

After The Flash

Photography from the Atomic Archive

10 October– 20 December 2014

Private View: Thursday 9 October, 6–8pm

Panel Discussion: Tuesday 14 October, 6.30–8pm

Through a Radioactive Lens

Speakers: Iain Boal, Daniel Grausam, Susan Schuppli and John Timberlake

Moderator: John O’Brian

Free; RSVP to to reserve a place

Photography plays a crucial role in shaping public perceptions of the atomic age and its legacy of anxiety. Cameras not only record nuclear events, but also assist in their production–whether as agents of scientific measurement, propaganda or protest. They witness the unseeable on our behalf, giving form to the invisible forces and forbidden sites that haunt popular conceptions of the nuclear world.

After The Flash: Photography from the Atomic Archive explores the intertwined histories of photography and nuclear technologies, and the camera’s role in constructing the public image of atomic energy and ‘the bomb’. The exhibition contrasts the ‘technological sublime’ that dominates much nuclear-themed photography–from mushroom clouds to cooling towers–with representations of personal encounters and experiences, tracing the hazy lines between spectacle and humanitarian documentation. Photographic fragments offer insight into broader nuclear narratives and reveal recurring tensions between invisibility and visibility, and obliteration and transformation.

Drawing on the extensive personal ‘atomic archive’ of art historian and curator John O’Brian, After The Flash focuses on North American visual culture in the early decades of the Cold War from the 1940s to the 1960s, coinciding with the emerging ‘golden age’ of photojournalism. The exhibition comprises three sections: Cameras and Clouds; At Work in the Fields of the Bomb; and The Culture of Contamination.

After The Flash is curated by John O’Brian and Marianne Templeton and marks the publication of Camera Atomica by Black Dog Publishing, a survey exploring the intersection of photography and the atomic age published in association with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada. Camera Atomica is edited by John O’Brian and precedes a major retrospective exhibition of nuclear photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2015.

WORK Edition No. 14

Sixteen Nuclear Power Stations

John O’Brian, 2014

Edition of 20 + 1AP

£250 ex VAT unframed