For over three decades, Patrick Nagatani has created a compelling body of photographic work marked by formal experimentation and engagement with wide-ranging subject matter. On moving to Albuquerque from Los Angeles in 1987, Nagatani began examining the impact of the development of nuclear energy and attendant industries on the cultural and physical landscape of New Mexico. The less-than-glorious aspects of this legacy are highlighted in Nagatani’s photographs, which grapple with issues such as the contamination of land and water and the instability of the power relations between mining companies and Native American nations. The series "Nuclear Enchantment" consists of forty photographs, one of which is featured here: “Bida Hi”/Opposite Views, North East—Navajo Tract Homes and Uranium Tailings, Southwest— Shiprock, New Mexico; This key photograph from the series emphasize the impact of uranium mining and radiation on the land.The descriptive title identify specific places in the state, while the use of photomontage and color enhancement highlights the sometimes imperceptible scars on the land.
Series: from the Nuclear Enchantment series
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist
This image was included in SITE Santa Fe's SITElines.2014: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, entitled Unsettled Landscapes, July 2014-January 2015