Image: “Fin de Siècle,” Bat Flight Amphitheater, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
(Chicago, 1945 - October 27, 2017, Albuquerque)

“Fin de Siècle,” Bat Flight Amphitheater, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico from Nuclear Enchantment , 1989

Ilfocolor print
20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm)
Gift of George Stephanopoulos
This photograph was inspired by an Airforce Magazine account of a Pennsylvania dentist who decided, after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks, that the United States could utilize the bats from the Carlsbad Caverns to “fight back.”  He proposed that very small bombs and time delay igniters be attached to the bats.  President Roosevelt approved research into this plan.  Titled Project X-Ray, it cost around $2 million and the lives of over 6,000 bats.  Bats can be excellent hosts for, and spreaders of, infectious diseases.  Fin de siècle denotes the end of an era, often regarded as a degenerate time but also one with hopes for a new beginning.  
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