A.W. Thompson

(b.1967; resides West Olive, MI)

A confluence of forces shaped both the physical quality of these places and the worldview that required them, mirroring both the ingenuity and the excess of American society in the twentieth century.  - A.W. Thompson

Examining U.S. Cold War-era military sites and specifically their major nuclear offshoots, A.W. Thompson’s Incendiary Iconography, from his larger collection Wasteland: Legacy of the Cold War in America, shows the process of public reclamation and transformation. Documenting the products of the Defense Environmental Restoration Project, Thompson’s works show the effects of bureaucratic reasoning on local populations.

Thompson received his BS in physics from the University of Dallas and his MFA in photography from Washington University, St. Louis. He worked as a freelance photographer for two years in Rome, Italy, as well as spending several years photographing in commercial advertising studios in the Midwest. He is currently Associate Professor of Photography at Grand Valley State University.

Security Personnel. Bldg. 771, Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, 2001Security Personnel. Bldg. 771, Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, 2001
Steam P.R. Station H30-L9A, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, 2002Steam P.R. Station H30-L9A, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, 2002

Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554
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