Patrick Nagatani

(Chicago, 1945 - October 27, 2017, Albuquerque)
Lives Albuquerque, New Mexico
Patrick Nagatani was born in Chicago in 1945, just days after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated by atomic bombs.  His father’s family lived right outside Hiroshima, and these events resonate throughout his work.

In 1987, Nagatani moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, joining the photography faculty at the University of New Mexico (UNM).  Known as the “Land of Enchantment” for its magical landscapes, it was also the birthplace of the nuclear weapons industry.  He began to photograph sites linked with nuclear research and development, such as weapon stockpiles, uranium mines, test sites and reactors.  Many of these were alarmingly close to large population areas or to tribal lands housing our country’s oldest cultures including the Hopi and Pueblo Indians.  The resulting series of photographs juxtapose symbols of Japanese and Native American beliefs with the feats of modern science.

For 20 years, Nagatani was a top professor in UNM’s distinguished photography program. After retiring in 2007, he is now enjoying a career as full-time artist, reinventing himself with each new body of work.
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