About the Photographer
Born in Chicago in 1945, Patrick Nagatani made his home in New Mexico and turned his attention to this region's atomic history in the series "Nuclear Enchantment." A master of fabricated photo-dramas, Nagatani stages elaborate tableaux that pursue the issue of nuclear power with a sense of irony. With thorough disregard for the traditional role of photography as an objective documentation of reality, especially scientific reality, Nagatani's narratives offer an animated, color-saturated view of the nuclear and military sites of New Mexico. Magic/Myth/Megation presents a magician next to a particle accelerator in a sardonic comment on faith and illusion in the area of scientific expertise. This image and the others that appeared in the book Nuclear Enchantment (1991) reveal Nagatani's wry sense of humor, mastery of the constructed set, and concern for social issues.
Nagatani's work has been presented in one-person exhibitions at The Albuquerque Museum; the California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Isla Center for the Arts at the University of Guam, Mangilao; and at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England, among other venues. Nagatani has received numerous honors and awards for his work. His monographs include Nuclear Enchantment (1991) and Patrick Nagatani/Andree Tracey: Polaroid 20 × 24 photographs: 1983—1986 (1987).