Tag Archive: top secret


Trevor Paglen Photographs the Limit of Vision at Black Sites

At that extreme distance [44miles] vision itself collapses. Literally you can look as hard and with the most powerful equipment you can and there is nothing to see. Because at those distances there is so much heat and so much haze and so much turbulence in the atmosphere that the photons that make up light are literally coming apart from each other. Color is literally coming apart.

Now it turns out that it is harder to take a picture of something on the ground that is 30 or 40 miles away than it is to take a picture of Jupiter, for example, that is hundreds of millions of miles away.

You come up against the physical limit of vision. That is really what you see in the photograph, is you see vision falling apart. Now at the same time it is a photograph of this weapons range, but it is also a photograph of the impossibility of trying to see this weapons range in a certain way.

We have previously written about Trevor Paglen’s groundbreaking photography projects about military patches, spy satellites, CIA Black Sites and Limit-Telephotography but I just came across this video interview with him explaining the physical limits of light and photography that his work about “black sites” is confronting. An interesting thought.

(via ASX.TV: Trevor Paglen – “Black Sites” (2012))

Worth a look: Trevor Paglen’s Limit-Telephotography examining top secret US military activity

Morning Commute (Gold Coast Terminal) - Las Vegas, NV - Distance ~ 1 mile - 6:26 a.m.

Morning Commute (Gold Coast Terminal) - Las Vegas, NV - Distance ~ 1 mile - 6:26 a.m.

Trevor Paglen‘s work on the hidden aspects the American military is well worth a look. Peeking into the hidden corners of the American military, his work previously has focused on the patches worn by top secret military units (available as a book, as well), code names used by secret agents, CIA black sites, and signatures found on documents used during “extraordinary rendition”. His new work, Limit-Telephotography, focuses on top secret military facilities that are located in some of the most remote areas of the United States. Using astronomy equipment, Paglen is able to take photographs from miles away, giving the images a hazy quality that speaks volumes about just how little we know about the top secret and confidential American government operations. Be sure not to miss the accounts of Paglen’s trips to photograph these sites, too.

Required supplemental reading: the Washington Post’s two-year long investigation into Top Secret America.

(via The Spinning Head)