October 28, 2019: Received a shipment of HO Scale train layout figurines today which I had ordered from ebay. I think I now have a concept that will work. I am going to juxtapose the perky little 1950s figures against nuclear testing backgrounds. Make American Great Again has been a call repeated over and over here in the USA in the past few years. The question is, when was America Great? I think that many people think America was great in the period of increased middle class and baby boom in the time following the end of WWII. Yet during this time, the USA was engaged in a very dangerous cold war and the risk and threat of nuclear strike was high. I grew up during the Cold War and believed that nuclear destruction was a distinct possibility. The hubris governments had, especially during the US was staggering. The nuclear test were carried out with only rudimentary knowledge of the dangers of nuclear blasts. I would like to demonstrate that the USA wasn’t the great country people thought in the 1950s.

October 30th, 2019: I am pleased with the result of my experimental work using the nuclear testing-related images and HO scale figures to create a juxtaposition of real/unreal. This photo, like most of the Theolgieon/little theater pictures, took over an hour to set up and shoot. I experiment with the lighting, gels and position of the characters to get a result I like.

Waiting for the end of the world.
Rockwell, Norman. (1955). Home for the holidays.

November 3, 2019: In 2016, The New York Times published an article which explored the question of “what year was America great”. Two research groups polled thousands of Americans and the results of the poll were analyzed according to the respondent’s self-identification with a political party. Interestingly, Trump supporters indicated two different years in which America was great: 2000 and 1955. Sample reasons for choosing these years were “strong family values” and “life was simpler”. As I am a Generation Xer (or late Baby Boomer), I grew up under the influence of the “family values” of the 1950s. Therefore, I am focusing on life in 1955 America for this project.

Nuclear testing in South Pacific. High five!