Test site, Underground Explosion Project
This gelatin silver print was taken by Winter Prather (1926-2005) between 1951-1952 and depicts a rocky hole in the ground. Prather took this image while he was photographing Underground Explosion Project on behalf of the Denver Institute of Technology. The Underground Explosion Project took place at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, and at Buckhorn Wash and Unaweep Canyon in Colorado. According to the federal government, no nuclear bombs were detonated during the tests. Rather, nuclear scientists unleashed large, secret underground explosions with non-atomic conventional weapons to study effects expected from future underground atomic blasts in Nevada. It is unclear if this crater is the result of an explosion. "612-19 SW" has been inscribed on the lower left corner of the print. This is likely the name of this particular test site. From 1951 to 1952, Prather shot still photographs and helped produce motion picture film of the testing.
Winter Phillips Prather (1926-2005) was a prominent commercial and fine art photographer who worked in Denver, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico during the mid 20th Century. Due to the physical and mental illnesses that Prather suffered later in his life, many images in the collection were not initially labeled with dates, subjects, or locations. Photographs that have been dated and identified were taken between 1940 and 1978 primarily in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Images in the collection demonstrate Prather's mastery of diverse photographic genera’s. Non-representational abstracts, industrial images, western landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, and art reproductions can all be found among Prather's photographs. In addition, the collection also contains Prather's experimental work with reverse negative printing, composite images, and solarization. This photograph is part of the Winter Prather collection (Ph.00332)
Donated by Bill O'Connor, 2000.