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Nolan Preece: The Military-Industrial Complex in the Great Basin

CAE1413

Summary Note

This archive consists of three projects, one covering Nolan Preece’s 3 ½ year employment during 1984-1987 at the Morton Thiokol Rocket Testing Facility, another making a rare flight through the Fallon Naval Air Station’s restricted airspace in western Nevada, and a third project about the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Biographical Note

A photographer for over forty years, Nolan Preece has devoted his work to understanding and mastering the challenging techniques of early photography, but also conceiving of new processes such as the chemogram (1980) and an experimental process he originated in the late nineteen-seventies using cliche-verre. His portfolios include platinum, silver gelatin, cibachrome and digital prints. His distinctive work is in many collections including the Nevada Museum of Art, the Norra Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, UT and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City. He has lived in Nevada since 1993, and worked as both an industrial photographer for Morton-Thiokol, and as an environmental photographer in Utah. From 2003-2011 he was a professor of photography at the Truckee Meadows Community College.

Scope and Content

This archive consists of three projects, one covering Preece’s three-and-a-half-year employment during 1984-1987 at the Morton Thiokol Rocket Testing Facility in Promontory Point, Utah, another making a rare flight through the Fallon Naval Air Station’s restricted airspace over the Carson Sink and Dixie Valley in western Nevada, and a third project about the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The Morton Thiokol materials include both some of the 40,000 images taken by Preece, as well as other photographic and press materials generated by the company. Preece was working at Thiokol when the booster rocket O-rings manufactured by them catastrophically failed on NASA’s Challenger mission.

In spring 2015, Preece took a rare flight with military trainers over the Bravo 20 and Bravo 17 bombing ranges in Dixie Valley, as well as much of the nearby Carson Sink, and was able to obtain rare views of aerial targets used in bombing practice by pilots based at the nearby Fallon Naval Air Base. The suite of images also includes aerial views of Sand Mountain, the Stillwater Refuge, the private wild horse holding facility, and contemporary geoglyphs along the local highway. Overall, the project provides a literal overview of life in and near the old emigrant route through the Twenty-Mile Desert and Dixie Valley, and how contemporary military activities are engaging that landscape.

In 2022, Preece returned to Utah to photograph the Great Salt Lake as it continues to dry up. He photographed the lake in its current state as well as its environs.

Materials include digital images, photographic prints, patches and stickers, maps, and exhibition ephemera.

Arrangement

This archive is organized into four series. Series 1 contains information about the artist and his processes, as well as exhibition images. Series 2 contains the materials from Preece’s time spent at Morton Thiokol Rocket Testing Facility in Promontory Point, Utah. Series 3 contains the images and flight trajectory from a rare flight through the Fallon Naval Air Station’s restricted airspace over the Carson Sink and Dixie Valley in western Nevada. Series 4 contains images of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, including an image of Spiral Jetty.
  • Series 1: Morton Thiokol
  • Series 2: The Carson Sink
  • Series 3: The Carson Sink
  • Series 4: The Diminishing Great Salt Lake

Inclusive Dates

1984-2022

Bulk Dates

1985-2018

Quantity / Extent

.5 cubic feet

Language

English

Related Publications

Burgess, Eric, et al. Pioneer Odyssey: Encounter with a Giant. Washington, DC: Scientific and Technical Information Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1974.

Collins, Douglas. Nolan Preece – Currents in Photography - . New York, NY: Walter Wickiser Gallery, Inc., 2016.

Colton, George Willis et al. Apollo Over the Moon: A View from Orbit. Washington, DC: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1978.

Hall, R. Cargill, ed. Essays on the History of Rocketry and Astronautics: Proceedings of the Third Through the Sixth History Symposia of the International Academy of Astronautics. Washington, DC: NASA, Scientific and Technical Information Office, 1977.

Kruger, Kenneth G., Nevada Perspective: Photograph Portfolio 2, 2004-2005. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2010.

Lombardi, D. Dominick. Nolan Preece: Metaphors for the Future. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2016.

Mackedon, Michon. Bombast: Spinning Atoms in the Desert. Reno, NV: Black Rock Institute Press, 2010.

Misrach, Richard. Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Preece, Nolan, et al. Great Basin Exteriors: A Photographic Survey. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2012.

Preece, Nolan. Chemigram Landscapes. Publica place not identified: self-published, 2023.

Preece, Nolan. Great Basin Patina: Photographic Study of Found Environments. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2011.

Preece, Nolan. In from the Light. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2013.

Preece, Nolan. Intaglio: A Selection of Prints. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2014.

Preece, Nolan. Nolan Preece: Chemigrams. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2014.

Preece, Nolan. Nolan Preece: Enchanting the Eye. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2014.

Preece, Nolan. Nolan Preece: Seeing Double. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2017.

Preece, Nolan. Nolan Preece: Selections of Photographic Work. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2008.

Preece, Nolan. Simple Systems. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2009.

Preece, Nolan. The Nevada Landscape. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2011.

Preece, Nolan. The Sabattier Effect. Logan, UT: Utah State University, 1980.

Preece, Nolan. Watershed: A Photographic Project. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2008.

Preece, Nolan. Watershed: A Photographic Project. Reno, NV: Nolan Preece, 2014.

Walter Wickiser Gallery. Nolan Preece: Chemigrams. New York, NY: Walter Wickiser Gallery, Inc., 2018.

Container Listing by Series:

CAE1413/1 Series 1: Artist Information, 1968-2020

Series 1 includes artist information about Nolan Preece.
  • CAE Box 142

    • 1-1 Artist Information, 1968-2020
    • 1-2 Blog, Newsletters, and Articles, 2010-2019
    • 1-3 Technical Information and Processes, 1997-2020
    • 1-4 Workshops, 1995-2019
    • 1-5 Exhibitions, 2014-2017
    • 1-6 Exhibitions, 2018-2021

CAE1413/2 Series 2: Morton Thiokol, 1984-1987

Series 2 includes Morton Thiokol materials include photographs taken by Preece, as well as other photographic and press materials generated by the company.
  • CAE Box 142

    • 2-1 Employee Communications and Ephemera, 1984-1987
    • 2-2 Space Flight Ephemera, 1984-1987
    • 2-3 Rocket Motor Manufacturing Photographs, 1984-1987
    • 2-4 Launch & Assembly Photographs, 1984-1987
    • 2-5 Space Shuttle Testing and Operations Photographs, 1984-1987
    • 2-6 Filament Wound Case Test Photographs, 1984
    • 2-7 O-Ring Tests After Challenger Accident Photographs, 1986
    • 2-8 Trident, HARM, SRAM, Aim Missile Manufacturing Promotional Photographs, 1984-1987

Additional Materials

  • CAE Box 14 Tray 1 Small Objects

    • 2-1#9 Morton Thiokol, Inc. Wasatch Operations, Pen, Not dated
  • CAE Box 14 Tray 2 Small Objects

    • 2-1#10 Host, Nolan Preece, Badge, 1985
    • 2-1#11 Family Day, Morton Thiokol, Inc., Host, Badge, 1984 – 1987
    • 2-1#12 Family Day, Morton Thiokol, Inc., Press, Badge, 1984 – 1987
  • CAE Box 174 Tray 1 Medium Objects

    • 2-1#13 51-D Crew Visit, 31 May 1985, Badge, 1985
  • CAE Box 237 Large Objects

    • 2-1#14 Morton Thiokol Standard Missile Hat, Ball Cap, Not dated
  • CAE Flat File F25 Oversized Items

    • 2-1#15 Morton Thiokol Family Day, July 20, 1985, Drawing, 1985
    • 2-1#16 Way to go, Jake!, Poster, 1985
    • 2-1#17 Morton Thiokol, Inc. Wasatch Operations Calendar, 1986
    • 2-4#17 Fly Over Morton Thiokol Plant, Color photograph, 1984 - 1987
    • 2-5#3 Solid Rocket Booster (SRM) Test for Space Shuttle, Color photograph, c.1985
    • 2-6#4 1st Filament Wound Case Test for SRB (1), Color Photograph, 10/25/1984
    • 2-6#5 1st Filament Wound Case Test for SRB (2), Color Photograph, 10/25/1984

CAE1413/3 Series 3: The Carson Sink, 2013

Series 3 includes materials from Preece’s rare flight with military trainers over the Bravo 20 and Bravo 17 bombing ranges, as well as much of the Carson Sink. He was able to obtain rare views of aerial targets used in bombing practice by pilots based at Fallon Naval Air Base. Materials include photographs, maps, and a flight narrative.
  • CAE Box 142

    • 3-1 Flight Narrative and Maps, 2013
    • 3-2 Photographic Images, 4/20/2013

Additional Materials

  • CAE Flat File F16 Oversized Items

    • 3-1#2 Flight Plan Map, April 20, 2013
    • 3-1#3 Carson Sink Flight Map, April 20, 2013
    • 3-2#1 Take Off – Fallon Airport, NV (Indian Lakes Rd.), 1:05 pm
    • 3-2#2 Ancient Streambeds – Carson Sink Area near Fallon, NV, 1:07 pm
    • 3-2#3 Salt Wells Basin Landscape near Fallon, NV, 1:14 pm
    • 3-2#4 Black Rock Graffiti - Salt Wells Basin, NV (Hwy 50), 1:15 pm
    • 3-2#5 Sand Springs Pony Express Station near Sand Mountain, NV, 1:18 pm
    • 3-2#6 Sand Mountain Recreation Area, NV (near Fallon), 1:20 pm
    • 3-2#7 Sand Mountain Recreation, NV, 1:21 pm
    • 3-2#8 Sand Mountain Recreation Area Campground, NV, 1:21 pm
    • 3-2#9 Army Base Target #2, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:28 pm
    • 3-2#10 Army Base Target, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:28 pm
    • 3-2#11 Target Maintenance Area, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:28 pm
    • 3-2#12 Target Storage Area, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:28 pm
    • 3-2#13 Target Storage Area Overview, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:28 pm
    • 3-2#14 Sitting Duck Targets #1, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:31 pm
    • 3-2#15 Sitting Duck Targets #2, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:33 pm
    • 3-2#16 Sitting Duck Targets #3, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:33 pm
    • 3-2#17 Targets and Hangars, Bravo 17 – Fairview Valley, NV, 1:33 pm
    • 3-2#18 Volcanic Tuft near LaPlata Canyon. - Stillwater Range, NV, 1:50 pm
    • 3-2#19 LaPlata Courthouse Remains w/Monument – Stillwater Range, NV, 1:53 pm
    • 3-2#20 Targets, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:08 pm
    • 3-2#21 Lone Rock Overview, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:09 pm
    • 3-2#22 Lone Rock, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:09 pm
    • 3-2#23 Submarine Target #1, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:11 pm
    • 3-2#24 Submarine Target #2, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:11 pm
    • 3-2#25 Target, Bravo 20 – Carson Sink, NV, 2:14 pm
    • 3-2#26 Bravo 20, Fallon Naval Air Station Bombing Range – Carson Sink, NV, 2:15 pm
    • 3-2#27 Willow Lake, Carson Sink - Stillwater Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, NV, 2:23 pm
    • 3-2#28 Stillwater Nat’l Wildlife Refuge – Carson Sink, NV (Lead Bypass Canal), 2:25 pm
    • 3-2#29 Big Indian Lake – Carson Sink, NV, 2:27 pm
    • 3-2#30 Likes & Papoose Lakes – Carson Sink, NV, 2:28 pm
    • 3-2#31 Wild Horse Containment Area – Fallon, NV (Broken Arrow), 2:29 pm
    • 3-2#32 Wild Horse Containment Area Overview – Fallon, NV, 2:29 pm
    • 3-2#33 Vacated Feedlot – Fallon, NV, 2:32 pm

CAE1413/4 Series 4: The Diminishing Great Salt Lake, 2022

Series 4 includes photographic prints of the Great Salt Lake from Preece’s 2022 trip to Utah.
  • CAE Box 142

    • 4-1 The Great Salt Lake Photographic Prints, 10/24/2022

Additional Materials

  • CAE Flat File F30 Oversized Items

    • 4-1#1 The Diminishing Great Salt Lake from Rozel Point, UT #1 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#2 The Diminishing Great Salt Lake from Rozel Point, UT #2 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#3 The Diminishing Great Salt Lake from Rozel Hills, UT 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#4 The Diminishing Great Salt Lake from Rozel Hills with the Raft River Mountains, UT 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#5 The Spiral Jetty (by Robert Smithson) and the Diminishing Great Salt Lake 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#6 Spiral Jetty Fly By 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#7 Morton Thiokol (now Northrop Grumman), Utah 2022, October 24, 2022
    • 4-1#8 Oil Refinery and Diminishing Great Salt Lake 2022, October 24, 2022