Brett Pate: Staying focused
In celebration of World Photography Day, take a look into the world of Y-12 through the lens of Brett Pate, one of the site’s professional photographers. He documents National Nuclear Security Administration mission activities as well as captures images for publications, visits, events, and conferences.
He’s been involved in photography for about 45 years, with 29 of those years working as a Y-12 photographer.
“I started my profession very early, as a dark room technician at a local photography studio while in high school,” Pate said. “I worked after school for a professional photographer in the wedding industry.”
He said he likes the creative freedom he has with his job.
“I am blessed to have a job that I enjoy every day,” he said. “For the most part, I have the independence to create an image the way that I envision.”
He said one misconception about the field is that if you can point and click, then you’re considered a photographer. Learning the skill, technique, and artistry of photography takes many years of practice, he said.
“Everyone nowadays is a photographer!” Pate said. “However, there is a lot more to it than that. It takes work and some forethought to imagine the image you are trying to capture and how you want your final product to look. Lighting plays a big part in this and is something that a lot of inexperienced photographers are not familiar with.”
Outside of work, Pate said he has many photography interests.
“I like old buildings and rusty structures as well as our beautiful mountains and flowers,” he said. “Basically, wherever I am, I will see something and think, ‘That would be a great photo,’ so I start snapping. Most recently, I photograph my dogs and grandchildren since they are always doing something interesting!”
Check out a few of Pate’s favorite Y-12 images below.
ProForce member in full gear. (Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.)
A Y-12 machinist. (Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.),
Researcher with a Scanning Electron Microscope. (Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Technician at Oak Ridge Metrology Center works on precision calibration. (Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.)
A black and white shot of gears at Y-12.
Uranium Processing Facility nightshift. (Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.)