Miss Flame, Declassified

Juli Kearns Art-Paintings, Hanford Declassified Leave a Comment

She was a human torch, run away!

firedarkernosig
Miss Flame, declassified
2006
15 by 12 in h
Digital Painting/photo collage
Based on a photo from the “Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project”.
© copyright Jk

Lightbox enlargement

Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project paintings

This is Hanford Fire Prevention Week’s Miss Flame of 1950. Very David Lynch, isn’t she?

That’s some sparkle plenty for small town Richland Miss Flame. Was the striking young woman chosen to be Miss Flame as she already owned an appropriate costume from a prior Halloween? Or did the men who bestowed upon her the title of Miss Flame (for they were certainly men) design this costume and have it sewn up for her, hat and elbow warmers and all?

The dynamic of Miss Flame gives me a queasy feeling. I think it has something to do with Miss Flame being masked. You know that what you can’t see in this photo? That over to the right is a room full of men in business suits at their tables, and the masked Miss Flame amongst them makes me uneasy, perhaps because she is likely the only woman in their company.

At least they didn’t costume her in a flame-on bathing suit.

Fire Prevention was a big deal in Hanford and Richland with those plutonium reactors out there in the middle of the fire-prone desert. No one wanted you leaving a lit cigarette butt anywhere, and Miss Flame’s job was to terrify you with the consequences of negligent sparks.

You tell me, have you ever seen someone who looks so ferociously intent on doing something with the title of Miss Flame? Look at the set of that mouth! Those teeth! She looks every bit as determined in other pictures.

Miss Flame, Fire Prevention Week, 1950
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0054371”
Accession Number N1D0054371
Document Number 1378-50-NEG-B
Alternate Document Number 1378-50-NEG
Title Description FIRE PREVENTION “MISS FLAME”
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) FIRE SAFETY,HANFORD SITE,MISS FLAME
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 14-Jun-2002

When the festivities were done for the evening, it seems Miss Flame ended up with the photographer in his dark room.

Miss Flame, Fire Prevention Week, 1950
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0054373”
Accession Number N1D0054373
Document Number 1378-50-NEG-C
Alternate Document Number 1378-50-NEG
Title Description FIRE PREVENTION “MISS FLAME”
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s) FIRE SAFETY,HANFORD SITE,MISS FLAME
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 05-Feb-2002
Public Availability Date 14-Jun-2002

I painted another version of the picture in which I did the rug, but didn’t keep it, deciding there was too much going on visually. The rug is an exploding dandelion motif. I never in my life would have imagined a rug glorifying dandelions. They were the “weed” in Richland yards and I don’t recollect anyone finding them desirable when we lived there. I remember a number of Saturday mornings out in the yard pulling dandelions, which was kind of crazy and useless for as soon as you pulled up one several others grew in their place.

Despite that memory of bloodying my child hands with pulling dandelions, I want that rug.

“The Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office (RL) has aggressively implemented the commitments made by the Federal Government to openness in Government which was stated as a ‘Fundamental principle that an informed citizenry is essential to the democratic process and that the more the American people know about their Government, the better they will be governed. Openness in government is essential to accountability . . .’ RL is committed to responsible openness. The Hanford Declassification Project (HDP) was initiated by RL to declassify to the maximum possible extent all previously classified Hanford operations information (documents and photographs). There are over 77,000 declassified photographs of early Hanford (1943 – 1960) available… \These World War II and Cold War era photographs depict early Hanford construction and the employees/families who lived and build/operated the site.”

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