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Chapter 5 explores how uranium pushes photography beyond that which is visible to the human eye. Centering on the problem of slow violence, the argument in this chapter is twofold. First, experiments by Niépce de Saint-Victor, Wilhelm Röntgen, and Henri Becquerel show that photography is central to the development of atomic culture—just as many of the qualities of radiation were first perceived on photographic paper. Photography was deliberately used to direct attention from the violence caused by the atomic bomb to the spectacular imaginary of the bomb itself. At the same time, photographs made with uranium can make visible forms of attritional violence that otherwise can’t be seen. Materially, uranium highlights the limits and possibilities of seeing and visibility in the context of violence, both slow and spectacular. The chapter concludes by turning to Susanne Kriemann’s autoradiographs of uranium to consider how toxic histories might be reengaged with productively.

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