︎ London, UK 

Joe Burrows

Joe Burrows is a documentary photographer and visual researcher with an interest in the nuclear anthropocene. His practice utilises open-source intelligence, archives, satellite imagery and deep research practices to visualise the post-atomic era and the power structures and technologies that enabled and perpetuate it.

Find me completing my MA at The Centre for Research Architecture.
Open to commissions and interesting opportunities.

︎ Jump to Project ︎︎︎


︎ Jump to Zines︎︎︎

Joe Burrows
Current Work ︎︎︎

Operation Sabotage

(2022 - )

︎︎︎ Investigative
︎︎︎ Archival
︎︎︎ CBRN
︎︎︎ Biological Weapons
︎︎︎ Porton Down
︎︎︎ Top Secret

An ongoing visual investigation into a series of biological weapons trials conducted in public spaces across Britain from 1950 to 1964.

This work will take the form of an A4 dossier of archival images, original collages, maps, transparencies and texts.

In 1950, the Chief Superintendent of Microbiological Research Department, Porton Down, instigated a series of trials on the behaviour of bacterial aerosols released within vehicles, tunnels, buildings and within means of access of buildings. These trials were to determine the vulnerability of the public and government to sabotage attacks with Biological Weapon agents. The next 14 years would see five distinct series of trials using biological agents in public spaces.

This project lays out the events of each trial.

##–##–01952       (024)
Porton Down scientist recording the results of a biological trial in government owned tunnels under Wiltshire.

##–##–01964        (025)
Bacillus globigii in a conventional cardboard face powder carton. This was held together in such a way as it burst open when dropped from the window of a London Underground train. A little of the original face powder was added to “provide the correct odour” so that no undue interest would have been taken in the post-trial discovery of the box on the track.

##–##–01950        (028)
In earlier trials, the main stimulant used was Serratia marcescens: a few trials were also done with Bacillus globigii. Because twice-weekly long exposures to the aerosolised bacteria were involved, full protective clothing and respirator use was adopted. Further, the batches of SM were checked for non-pathogenicity with animal testing.

Excepted Matter

(2020 - )

︎︎︎ Archive
︎︎︎ Investigation
︎︎︎ Nuclear Hauntology
︎︎︎ Radioactive Waste

A hauntological reimagining of the British nuclear landscape.

Excepted Matter traces the material contingencies of the nuclear state by reorganising the technologies and infrastructures of radioactivity by the legislation that governs it.

The materiality of the nuclear state extends far beyond the legally defined bounds of the conspicuous ‘nuclear site’.  Britain is the home of civil nuclear energy and became the third nuclear-armed state in 1952. The physical remains of decades of white-hot innovation and nuclear industrialisation is a vast inventory of radioactive waste, accumulated within cooling ponds and containment structures at power stations, research facilities and processing plants across the UK.  Eventually, the most active of this material will be interred deep within the rock from whence it came, in a deep Geological Disposal Facility. These nuclear sites, demarcated by technologies of securitisation and surveillance, rupture from the landscape at the threshold of material exceptionalism. They are built to hold matter in suspension. It is not, however, the masses of concrete, earth and steel that ultimately organise and attenuate the radioactivity of matter, but contrived legislative instruments.
    Excepted Matter is that which is made to not exist for the sake of the nuclear state, yet persists as a social or cultural past and imposed material future. It can be detected as the traces of radioactive matter dispersed along the fault lines of a folding landscape and across ontological thresholds. It defines a set of hauntological encounters with the nuclear uncanny that we understand to be the British nuclear state.



︎︎︎ Nuclear Cultures
︎︎︎ Adventure Tourism
︎︎︎ Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

A visual record of an illegal expedition into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine.

I joined a handful of Stalkers, young Ukrainians who trespass in The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, for a week in a radioactive hinterland.  
    Contaminated by the world’s worst nuclear disaster, 2,600 square kilometres of farmland, forests and settlements in northern Ukraine have been evacuated and are now protected by rings of barbed wire and armed patrols. Radioactive fallout from fabled Reactor Number 4 soaked into the trees and will remain in the soil for generations. Habitation is forbidden and access strictly controlled, unless you know a way in.
   Hiking dozens of kilometres a day through uncharted forests and sleeping rough in crumbling buildings, the threat posed by radiation rarely crosses the Stalker’s mind. While finding hearty food, dry shelter and uncontaminated water are more pressing concerns, capture remains the biggest threat. Stalkers must rely on cunning, instinct and their trusted networks to tame nature and stay one step ahead of the police.

Shop Zines ︎︎︎

ISO 668 


︎︎︎ Containerisation
︎︎︎ Logistics
︎︎︎ Speculation
︎︎︎ New Topographics

A self published zine on former Dagenham Sunday Market, soon to be part of the Barking Riverside housing development.

A photographic survey of logistical infrastructure languishing in the wake of new forms of speculative financialisation.

Open edition, first published 2024.


15 x 21 cm
24 pages
Staple Bound

N - Anthrax 


︎︎︎ CBRN
︎︎︎ Porton Down
︎︎︎ Biological Weapons
︎︎︎ 1942 - 1943

A self published zine on British anthrax bomb trials during WWII.

A visual study of the development of Anthrax for biological weapons in the United Kingdom, made up of archival and original imagery.

Open edition, first published 2022.


14 x 21 cm
40 pages
Perfect Bound