Looking Into the Past to See the Future: Nate Hofer Wins 2021 Global Peace Photo Award

Nate Hofer, design director, Brand ID Studio, VMLY&R Kansas City, discusses his award winning photo project

Nate Hofer at one of the sights

Nate Hofer, design director, Brand ID Studio, VMLY&R Kansas City, has dabbled in photography since high school. However, it wasn’t until many years later that he found his muse and started taking photography seriously, leading to him winning the prestigious Global Peace Photo Award in September 2021.

Growing up in the American Midwest during the Cold War culture of the 1980s, Nate was always fascinated by the reality of war. In fact, his home was within sight of an ammunition plant and just a short drive from 150 U.S. Air Force Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos. Fast forward to modern day — a time of parallel paranoia, increasing global instability, and new uncertainties — when Nate saw the juxtaposition in the time periods and felt that looking into the past to see the future would help him cope.

After visiting the sites in his local state of Missouri, Nate’s passion for the project grew and his foresight that this could be something meaningful was validated by his friends and family. After 10 years at VMLY&R, Nate spent his sabbatical traveling the country and visiting similar silo sites, taking photos and comparing imagery of them today and from the 1990s when they were decommissioned. His personal attachment to the period and his compelling photos tell the story of how America has avoided its existential threats in the past and how we should consider the future.

Nate Hofer at one of the sights

Nate started submitting his work, which he named "One and a Half Acres,"  in hopes of gaining arts funding to continue to develop the project, but he never thought his work would be recognized on a global stage. However, on Sept. 21, 2021, Nate flew to Vienna, Austria, and was awarded the Global Peace Award as one of five recipients.

Nate hopes to continue the project by visiting other decommissioned ICBM silos in former Soviet Union countries and even incorporate a music component to the project with the pedal steel guitar.

You can support Nate and view the work here or read more about the award here. You can also follow Nate and his journey on Instagram.

...Read More
A site in Missouri
A site in Missouri
A site in North Dakota