Color image of an aerial view of a nuclear power plant

Untitled (44UN-7991-099), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), 1958

Todd Webb

Archival pigment print

Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive L2020.85.62

Not on View

This photograph of the coal-fired power plant at the Kitwe copper mine illustrates the United Nations’ desire to highlight new technologies on the African continent. Webb’s framing of this massive structure obscures the presence and labor of the local workers who were essential to its functions. The edge of a wood plank, just out of focus, reminds us that Webb has positioned his tripod on the roof of a building, overlooking the geometric cityscape. Like Charles Sheeler’s photographs of the American Ford Red River Rouge plant complex from 1928, Webb’s image glorifies the human-made machine, but not the human expertise running it.

Image: In Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive

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