Monday, January 14, 2008

Taryn Simon's "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" [Another Post Inspired by Wired]

(I'm debating how cool/uncool it would be to create a tag called "Inspired by Wired")

Photographer Taryn Simon
has put together her newest book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar by shooting images of places and objects that are otherwise abstruse to the American public. How she got access to some of these scenes is intriguing enough for me to want to buy this book ($47.25 at Amazon ... did I mention that my birthday is coming up?)

Her images are haunting & thought-provoking, both in composition and subject matter. I would love to hear your thoughts on her work.

The album (and source of the image below) available here.

My personal selection is the nuclear radiation:

Nuclear Radiation by Taryn Simon, Featured on Wired

The image is so striking, and without a caption it might not register as a photograph at all. And it kind of looks like the cylinders of radioactive waste are trying to send a message, but that could be just me.

The blue glow is apparently due to ńĆerenkov radiation, a form of electromagnetic radiation. I found a decent explanation on a UPenn website:

To be precise, this radiation, named Cerenkov radiation after its discoverer, is produced whenever the velocity \beta c of the particle exceeds c/n, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum, n is the index of refraction of the medium traversed by the charge, and beta is the usual relativistic term given by the expression
beta = {1\over\sqrt{1 - (v/c)^2}} if v is the velocity of the charge.

I have no idea what that means, but it sounds about right.

I also chose this image because it was taken at the Hanford Site in Washington State, a nuclear storage facility and one of the most radioactively contaminated locations in the States.

According to Wikipedia (never the most reliable source, but certainly the most convenient), the Fat Man bomb (dropped on Nagasaki) was built with plutonium from the Hanford Site.


In my research on the Hanford Site, I was able to locate a Google link to the Department of Energy's official Hanford website ( ) - but everytime I tried to access it, I got an "Problem Loading Page" error message.

Just something to think about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, your blog has gotten totally nerdy.

But then again, I guess that statement is rather redundant.

: )

Thanks for the word art.