Two years ago photographer Stanley Greenberg visited SLAC to explore an undeveloped idea he had for his next project. He was taking photographs of high energy physics laboratories, and had also been to Fermilab. Since that first visit to SLAC, Greenberg's idea has taken him all over America and halfway around the world. He returned to SLAC last week to take more photographs for what has become a very grand plan.
Those earlier photos of SLAC, Fermilab and CERN helped Greenberg earn a
grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to create a book focusing on high
energy physics experiments. In the past two years, Greenberg has photographed
more than a dozen American labs, as well as CERN in Switzerland and DESY in Germany. Later this month he's heading to Japan to photograph KEK, Super-K, J-PARC and
the KamLAND Reactor Neutrino Experiment. In August he will visit
the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina.
After visiting so many labs, Greenberg can highlight the unique aspects of each one. "Beam lines are somewhat similar everywhere I’ve been; it’s the other aspects that tend to be different. I’ve ended up in a lot of tunnels for several different projects: water tunnels, electrical tunnels, beam line tunnels… but I love them, and I can usually make good pictures in them."
Greenberg photographs in black and white, drawing attention to structure and shape. He uses a simple, straightforward documentary style. In his previous photography books he visited buildings and subway tunnels in New York, focusing on infrastructure and engineering. His next book, out in 2009, is about architecture. He says all the books are connected: "My first two books were about how to make a city. My third book was about how to make a building. And this book is about how to make the universe."