Atomic Test Photos

by Jay on January 21, 2011

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These dramatic photographs are from Peter Kuran’s book “How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb”

We wanted to share some of these amazing images with our listeners, and Peter was kind enough to let us put together this slideshow.  If you’ve downloaded our Are We Alone app, you can also hear him share what he finds fascinating about each photo, as a filmmaker and photographer.

In the full-length interview in this week’s episode, “You’ve Got Sol”, Peter talks about the men whose job it was to document the dawn of the nuclear age on film, and what it required technically.   His book is a collection of photographs, along with stories and technical details about the images.

To get started,  if you don’t have an Are We Alone app, you can find it by searching for “Are We Alone” in iTunes app store or the Android app market.  Once you have the app, click on “extras” button in this episode to find this bonus audio.

You can advance the slides by clicking on the main image, or jump directly to a photo by clicking on one of the thumbnails below. Clicking the “link” button will take you to an uncropped and full size version of the image.

Be sure the check out Peter’s website at for more information about his book and films.

Hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think about these images in the comments below, or on our facebook page.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Lourdes January 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

Beautiful yet scary images.

The first one seems very likely to the one that was the protagonist of all my childhood nightmares back in the early 80s

avatar Michael January 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

Its hard to understand the scale of the second photo (the two ignitions), does anyone know?

avatar Gary Niederhoff January 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

The photos are examples of rapatronic images of fireballs detonating before hitting the ground. In the image on the right you can make out the fireball’s reflection on the ground and the silhouette of a building just under the fireball.

avatar Nathan July 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Are they all rapatronic? I am curious about the images from the pinhole camera. Maybe I’ll have to buy the book.

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