Robert Del Tredici

Robert Del TrediciRobert Del Tredici, Canada.

Topic (together with Gordon Edwards): Radioactive Lagacy of the Nuclear Age.
+ Photo exhibition of 60 photos.
Date: Friday 27 April 2007, 13:15-14:15.
Conference presentation:
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Photo Exhibition | Selected publications

Contact information:
E-mail: bdeltredici (@)

Biographical Notes

Robert Del Tredici, a native Californian, was born in 1938; he attended high school and college at St. Joseph's and St. Patrick's seminaries in northern California, where he studied the classics in preparation for the Catholic priesthood. There he began drawing, designing stage sets, making posters, and creating visual aids for courses in medieval and modern philosophy.

After receiving a BA in philosophy from St. Patrick's, he left the institution and earned an MA in Comparative Literature at the University of California in Berkeley in 1964. As a teaching assistant he created illustrations to texts from Don Quixote, Crime and Punishment, and The Prince, then spent five years illustrating Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. He spent 1965 in Spain on a Fulbright Fellowship to study printmaking in Barcelona, then worked as a freelance artist in California, doing silkscreen prints, landscape drawing, and book illustration.

He taught English and Humanities at Mt. Royal College and the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta. There he moved to Montreal to teach cinema history. In 1977 he studied photography and cinema in Manhattan at NYU, the New School for Social Research, and the International Center for Photography.

Del Tredici's first engagement with nuclear culture occurred with the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island, 200 miles from New York City. He traveled into the region to photograph and interview people living near the crippled plant. This yielded his first book, The People of Three Mile Island (Sierra Club Books, 1980), which led to his second project, six years in the making, on the U.S. nuclear weapons complex: At Work in the Fields of the Bomb (Harper & Row, 1987). This book won the 1988 Olive Branch Book Award for its contribution to world peace. In 1986 he created a two-hour radio programs based on interviews with Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, which won the 1986 Gabriel Award for Best Radio Documentary.

In 1987 Del Tredici founded The Atomic Photographers Guild, a collective of professional photographers dedicated to making visible the nuclear age. The Guild has 28 members from Japan, the USA,  Canada, Germany, Russia, and Kazakhstan; it has exhibited widely throughout Europe, Canada, and the USA.

In the early 1990s Del Tredici made five trips to the former USSR to document the Soviet nuclear weapons program. In the mid-90s he was asked by US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Hazel O' Leary to document the US government's first major attempts to clean up its deteriorating and contaminated H-bomb factory system. This led to his designing three books for the US DOE Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis: Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom (1995), Linking Legacies (1997), and From Cleanup to Stewardship (1999).

In 2001 Del Tredici published an expanded series of illustrations to Moby- Dick in Floodgates of the Wonderworld, released to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Melville's epic.

Since September 11, 2001 Del Tredici has been capturing in collage the changes taking place in the wake of George W. Bush’s response to the destruction of the World Trade Towers. He calls the series Evolution Pages and has exhibited the images digitally printed on large canvases.

Del Tredici lives in Montreal where he teaches photography, drawing, and the history of animated film at Vanier College and Concordia University.