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Art General

The Bomb in the Wilderness

Photography and the Nuclear Era in Canada

by (author) John O'Brian

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
General, Historical, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

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What can photographs reveal about Canada’s nuclear footprint? The Bomb in the Wilderness contends that photography is central to how we interpret and remember nuclear activities. The impact and global reach of Canada’s nuclear programs have been felt ever since the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. But do photographs alert viewers to nuclear threat, numb them to its dangers, or actually do both? John O’Brian’s wide-ranging and personal account of the nuclear era presents and discusses over a hundred photographs, ranging from military images to the atomic ephemera of consumer culture. His fascinating analysis ensures that we do not look away.

About the author

John O'Brian teraches Art History at the University of British Columbia. He is author of David Milne and the Modern Tradition of Painting: The Flat Side of the Landscape and Degas to Matisse: The Maurice Wetheim Collection, and editor of Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism.

John O'Brian's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Art historian O’Brian has brought together all his powers of observation and perception to help us rethink how we view the history and the mystery of the bomb.

The Ormsby Review

Employing an accessible yet scholarly approach, O'Brian does scholars of environmental, nuclear, and Cold War-era visual culture a great service as he brings together images and ideas in an interconnected web of analysis that complicates the chronological narrative of events, [showing] us that photography may either alert us to nuclear risk or numb us to its dangers.

BC Studies

Other titles by John O'Brian