How to photograph a nuclear bomb

The New York Times reports:

From 1945 to 1962, the United States military detonated hundreds of nuclear bombs into the atmosphere. Photographers struggled to document the nature of the explosions and their destructive effects.

The official photographer of the world’s first atomic explosion, detonated in the New Mexico desert in July 1945, was Berlyn Brixner.

Bryan C Taylor of the University of Colorado wrote in 1997

“Brixner recalls that his main worry [at the time] was that the fireball would expand beyond the camera frame, spoiling the image.”

Trinity 5:30 A.M. July 16, 1945. Photograph by Berlyn Brixner.

Yoshito Matsushige was a Japanese army reporter and photographer during World War II. According to Taylor, Matsushige was tasked with documenting the aftermath of the US atomic bombing in Hiroshima.

“When I saw them I realized I had to take a picture, and I tried to push the shutter, but I couldn’t. It was so terrible…” [he said.]

“When asked why he took only five photographs that day, Matushige explains, “Before I became a professional cameraman, I had been just an ordinary person.”

Click here to see images from “How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb,” by Peter Kuran.

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