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Labyrinth Live at the Library: Emmet Gowin: “The Nevada Test Site”
November 5, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Renowned photographer Emmet Gowin gives a presentation about his photographic study of the land that served as the main testing site for American nuclear devices for four decades.
More nuclear bombs have been detonated in America than in any other country in the world. Between 1951 and 1992, the Nevada National Security Test Site was the primary location for these activities, withstanding more than a thousand nuclear tests that left swaths of the American Southwest resembling the moon. In “The Nevada Test Site,” Gowin presents staggering aerial photographs of this powerfully evocative place.
Gowin remains the only photographer granted official and sustained access to the Nevada Test Site. For this book, he has revisited his original negatives, made in 1996 and 1997, and fully three-quarters of the images featured have never been published before. These images show blast areas where sand has been transformed to glass, valleys pockmarked with hundreds of craters, trenches that protected soldiers from blasts, areas used to bury radioactive waste, and debris left behind following tests conducted as deep as 5,000 feet below the Earth’s surface. Together, these stunning, unsettling views unveil environmental travesties on a grand scale. An essay by Gowin delves into the history of his work at the site, including his decade-long efforts to secure entry, the photographic equipment and techniques employed, and what the images mean to him today.
Presented in partnership with Labyrinth Books and Princeton University Press.