a film photoblog

Fallout Shelter – Old Sneakers

Fallout Shelter — Old Sneakers. (Fuji Neopan 400. Nikon F100. Noritsu Koki.)

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These sneakers have sat unmolested on this shelf for nearly twenty years, since my father first built his fallout shelter. (For background, click here.) Actually, it isn’t fair to call it “his” fallout shelter. A few others still have reserved bunks that they’ll use in the event of global unrest. But there were once many others. Over the years, most have completely divested themselves of the situation, choosing to recede into lives far away. As far as my father is concerned, their lack of communication means they’ve forfeited their right to salvation.


7 responses

  1. The whole fallout shelter thing is so interesting from a cultural point of view. I suspect that in the near future such items as can be found in your dad’s shelter will be in a museum exhibition.

    Fascinating stuff!

    October 1, 2010 at 1:38 AM

    • Well, I’m glad that you find it fascinating. I guess I do, too, although my proximity makes it hard for me to appreciate the “cultural point of view,” as you say. I avoided talking about it for most of my life, and then it finally came up in college. Everyone I talked to thought it was the coolest thing. Of course, it nearly destroyed my family, so my perspective has always been a bit raw – as you can understand.

      October 1, 2010 at 1:51 AM

  2. Jayne

    I’m fascinated by this too. My formative years were in the 60s/70s and we had drills at school, (UK), telling us what to do in the event of a nuclear attack – dive under the school desks. Seriously! Even as a child I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding. What use will that do?’

    Still, that atmosphere of fear left a big impression on me because by my teens I thought maybe it was a good idea to build a nuclear shelter at the bottom of the garden when I had a family of my own. It never happened of course – the world began to feel a safer place – and I’ve never met anyone who did build one/have access to one. Until now.

    I also haven’t met anyone in recent years using film! So it’s a double reason to thank you for stopping by my site. Do you develop your own shots? 🙂

    October 1, 2010 at 6:22 AM

  3. James Gahl

    these sneakers do seem retro. 🙂

    October 2, 2010 at 1:43 AM

  4. Nice capture. You seem to have a knack at finding the sublime in the relatively mundane.

    October 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM

  5. morethangray


    all the planning — from batteries to school materials to sneakers and lockers — underlines the seriousness with which your father and his associates approached the fallout shelter then…and now.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:52 PM

  6. Excellent documentary shots of this shelter. The series as a whole depicts it well. I can imagine how it would have been a difficult thing to deal with growing up, but thanks for sharing it and your love of film. I think I’ll see what’s still in the fridge and run a few rolls through my old cameras. Thanks for the inspiration and keeping film alive.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:49 PM

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