Nov 14 2017
The “Atomic Bomb” folder isn’t the thickest in the SVA Pictures Collection (there are only about 25 images), but it nevertheless contains a broad selection of pictures, offering a wide range of visual associations for one of humankind’s most horrifying creations. The folder is a particularly interesting peruse in 2017 - the Cold War, the age of the atomic bomb, feels simultaneously distant and disturbingly close. The folder contains a multitude of visual perspectives on the bomb - demonstrating the pervasiveness of its mythology in the period following the Second World War. The folder features everything from pictures of the men who dropped the H-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to references to the victims and survivors to test-runs in tropical landscapes to kitted-out 1950s fallout shelters. It intersperses images of survival with violence, and of paranoia with destruction, in the same way that these elements are complexly intertwined in reality - in particular within the context of warfare. Above all, the folder’s diversity of imagery elucidates the potency of the atomic bomb as both a symbol and a reality.