Recently there's been both an expansion and refinement of the photo essay on the Web. Better, bigger screens and fast connections have made it possible to display contemporary and historic images in an impressive way. Doing it well requires a keen eye for photography, an equally keen editorial and curatorial sensibility, and exceptional terse writing skills. Two have recently caught my eye, and I present a couple of samples from each but urge you to spend the time looking at the complete photo essays found at the links.
Alan Taylor, currently on staff with the Atlantic, was the first to develop the web photo essay in a consistent and thoughtful manner with his work at Boston.com. One of his recent efforts is When We Tested Nuclear Bombs [36 Images].
Since the time of Trinity -- the first nuclear explosion in 1945 -- nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed, with the majority taking place during the 1960s and 1970s.
"Rope tricks" are seen in this image of a nuclear explosion taken less than one millisecond after detonation. During operation Tumbler-Snapper in 1952, this nuclear test device was suspended 300 feet above the Nevada desert floor, and anchored by mooring cables. As the ball of plasma expanded, the radiating energy superheated and vaporized the cables just ahead of the fireball, resulting in the "spike" effects.
A photo of a nuclear bomb detonated by the French government at the Mururoa atoll, French Polynesia.
An equally distinguished and even more human look at the contemporary military scene was done this week by Rebecca Frankel for Foreign Policy as War Dog - An FP Photo Essay By Rebecca Frankel | Foreign Policy [10 images].
Dogs have been fighting alongside U.S. soldiers for more than 100 years, seeing combat in the Civil War and World War I. But their service was informal; only in 1942 were canines officially inducted into the U.S. Army. Today, they're a central part of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- as of early 2010 the U.S. Army had 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed (the largest canine contingent in the world). And these numbers will continue to grow as these dogs become an ever-more-vital military asset.
Above, a U.S. soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his dog leap off the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during water training over the Gulf of Mexico as part of exercise Emerald Warrior on March 1.
Dogs usually jump in tandem with their trainers, but when properly outfitted with flotation vests they can make short jumps into water on their own. A U.S. Navy SEAL, Mike Forsythe, and his dog, Cara -- pictured above -- recently broke the world record for "highest man/dog parachute deployment" by jumping from 30,100 feet.Posted by Vanderleun at May 11, 2011 8:50 PM