Weapons of Mass Destruction 2
Although the term, WMD, has become a part of our daily lexicon, it remains very much an abstraction for most of us. This series of images offers a retrospective look at some of these weapons which include aircraft involved in bombing civilian populations in WWII, the development and delivery of the first atomic weapons, and those of the subsequent Cold War arms race. It is significant that the Cold War period was the first time humankind posed a real threat to the very survival of civilization itself. The last sixty years has seen a frenzied dance between strategy and technology that has left us with the chilling array of doomsday machines seen here.
The images in this series have a conflicted effect on my mind. On the one hand, they represent the surreal capacity of humans to sublimate thoughts and emotions about the end use of their labors to the difficult technical and managerial problem-solving required to make such weapons a practical reality. This capacity is all the more remarkable given our awesome powers of imagination. On the other hand, despite all the horror and cultural failure symbolized by these machines, they possess a kind of stark and terrible beauty of form that is difficult to explain. Whatever the reason, an aesthetic response to these subjects is as palpable as it is unexpected. It may, in fact, be emblematic of the strange contradictions that so easily coexist in the human psyche.