In 1953, following the Soviet Union’s hydrogen bomb test, President Eisenhower proposed Atoms for Peace, which funded nuclear education and experimentation in the U.S. and throughout the world. Operation Gnome, "the first atomic blast designed for peaceful purposes,” was part of this initiative. The bomb’s detonation point is marked by the monument in the photograph’s background. In its foreground are sculptures by New Mexican ceramicist Shereen Lobdell. With her permission, Nagatani poured lighter fluid on them and lit it. He exposed the negative 3 times, adding more fuel each time, to produce a composite shot of the flames.