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Past Exhibition

  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Distorted steel-frame structure of Odamasa Store, Hiroshima], November 20, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Cemetery with debris, on the grounds of Kokutai Temple, showing sacred camphor tree charred by blast and Bank of Japan in background, Hiroshima], November 5, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome)], October 24, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Charred boy’s jacket found near Hiroshima City Hall], November 5, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Ruins of Chugoku Coal Distribution Company or Hiroshima Gas Company], November 8, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire], November 1, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima], October 31, 1945. International Center of Photography
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division, [Steel stairs warped by intense heat from burned book stacks of Asano Library, Hiroshima], November 15, 1945. International Center of Photography

Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945

MAY 20–AUGUST 28, 2011

After the United States detonated an atomic bomb at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the U.S. government restricted the circulation of images of the bomb's deadly effect. President Truman dispatched some 1,150 military personnel and civilians, including photographers, to record the destruction as part of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The goal of the Survey's Physical Damage Division was to photograph and analyze methodically the impact of the atomic bomb on various building materials surrounding the blast site, the first "Ground Zero." The haunting, once-classified images of absence and annihilation formed the basis for civil defense architecture in the United States. This exhibition includes approximately 60 contact prints drawn from a unique archive of more than 700 photographs in the collection of the International Center of Photography. The exhibition is organized by Erin Barnett, Assistant Curator of Collections.

This exhibition was made possible with funds provided by the ICP Acquisitions Committee and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.