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Bodies as Bombs

Considering the human element in our weapons of war.

Words: Jamie Withorne
Pictures: Ingeborg Bernhard

Like any good millennial, I was inspired to create “Bodies as Bombs” because of Instagram. Specifically, I stumbled across an account comparing modern rap artist Young Thug with classical paintings. The artist uses what is in her everyday life (i.e. a plethora of ridiculous selfies) to make simple, yet powerful, juxtapositions with traditional, and more removed, histories. It’s almost as if the artist is making her audience ask, “Is this complete farce? Or just absurd enough to make a point?”

“Bodies as Bombs” adapts a similar approach. With each image, I’ve chosen to take something beautiful (i.e. gorgeous dancers), and juxtapose it with unpleasant weapons that are, generally speaking, less accessible to the viewer. It is an uncomfortable comparison — forcibly mixing together something that is so wonderfully human with unanimated metal and steel. Is it complete farce to compare something so elegant with something that can have such an ugly impact? Or, is it just absurd enough to make a point?

As I continue to pursue a career in nuclear policy, I so often find that the people lose the spotlight. From heavy-duty hardware to wonky acronyms, nuclear policy discussions have become anything but personal. “Bodies as Bombs” tries to counteract that, forcing the technicalese to share the stage with humans themselves. By using this medium, I want to engage and welcome creative newcomers to the nuclear conversation. I also hope this set of images serves as a reminder about the people; the people behind the policy process, the people of the general public, the people at command and control, and the people in potential target ranges.

Jamie Withorne

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