Portrait of a Tumble Weed - 8505#08
Title: Portrait of a Tumble Weed - 8505#08
DECLASSIFIED: a national secret
This is a collection of images about a time, a place, a people and a secret.
In 1943, the US Government took over 600 square miles of land in southeast Washington State for plutonium production - a process never before attempted in human history. Over the next several decades the US greatly expanded production at Hanford until 1985 when the last reactor was decommissioned. Gradually, the truth of what happened in the area has come to light, most recently in the form of declassified documents that the current administration has made public record. Now formerly inaccessible parts of the land have been given back to the state and the site is now visible to civilians. Hanford is the center of the world’s largest clean up project today.
Both of my Grandfathers moved to Hanford to help lay the foundation for the building of a national secret, a secret that nobody in the town or world fully understood until 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and 135,000 innocent people were killed. It was only in the wake of those deaths that the people of Hanford learned the purpose of their town: to produce the plutonium that fueled America’s atomic bombs.
As a native to this profoundly secretive and conflicted place, I grew up in a culture where larger truths were never known. And now I am drawn back to the area's many ironies, not the least of which are: the extreme beauty of the untouched land that covers an unknown and vast amount of toxic waste, a high-school mascot who symbolizes our town’s infamy (the “Bombers”), and whose own street names are a record of the theory that led to the death of so many and which also allowed our nation to change the course of history.
The work was shot on a twin-lens Rolleiflex, the images are 24" x 24" in edition of 10. The color pallet mimics the washed out desert and vintage hand colored style of our past.