tumblr sunday– oppenheimer


This is a photograph by Alfred Eisendtaedt of J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist and one of the creators of the atomic bomb.  It’s in my tumblr gallery because I collect interesting black and white portraits of famous people, and because I am fascinated by black and white portraits of people staring directly at the audience through the camera, and because Oppenheimer was a complicated and conflicted person who quoted the Bhagavad Gita at the Trinity test, saying “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”, and because he has a seriously great hat.

So yeah, this is also a picture of Oppenheimer’s favorite hat– you can easily find a gazillion other images of him wearing the same one.  It’s a beat up, bleached out, unblocked old classic that he’s clearly worn for years to keep the sun off in the high desert, but he doesn’t swap it out for a snappy, crisp fedora when he puts on a suit and tie.  Whatever else you can say about Oppenheimer, he knew his hats, and he was loyal to the one that suited him.

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