Ed Westcott: Legacy in Black and White

Posted: July 18, 2012 - 2:02pm | Y-12 Report | Volume 9, Issue 1 | 2012

Ed Westcott

As the official photographer of the Manhattan Project, Ed Westcott took 15,000 photographs between 1942 and 1946. His images chronicle Y‑12 from its construction through the height of uranium-235 production and the end of the war. The photos also depict the people and community supporting this massive undertaking. Without his unflagging coverage of these secretive years, we would know far less about Y‑12, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Oak Ridge.

Westcott, who recently turned 90, revisited Y‑12 in February with family members to view a photo gallery named in his honor. The gallery lines a hallway in the Jack Case Center near the employee cafeteria and includes some of Westcott's most recognized photos from the 1940s.

A stroke several years ago makes speech difficult for Westcott, but his face lit up when he saw the large mural in the cafeteria of his “Shift Change” photo. His son-in-law said this was one of Westcott's favorite photos. Others include his “War Ends” images, which have been published across the U.S.

Darrel Kohlhorst, B&W Y‑12 president and general manager, walked the gallery with Westcott. “Oak Ridge was never just about the work. This was a community too, and these photographs capture that,” Kohlhorst said.

“Ed Westcott's photos are a visual legacy of this site. They remind us of the shoulders we stand on as we do this work.”