Week 3 response: The “see-through” art

What really stood out to me in lecture last week was the use of x-ray in art and its association with ecology. I never really thought x-ray to be used as an art medium. While having its risk of continuously exposing to high radiation, it can be a dangerous art to play with. From x-rays we could see the inner bodies of human and other objects without cutting it open. Some radiologist are also artists at the same time. Although it is quite depressing to see most of the early adapter of this art form die young because of the radiations, people are still sacrificing for the passion x-ray provides.

Elizabeth Fleischmann is one of the best known x-ray operator that utilized x-ray to study human body parts. One of her most famous work was the x-ray of a human foot in shoes. It definitely had an impact on later artists to experiment with x-ray foot. From the 1990’s Hugh Turvey has started experimenting x-ray as a form of art and photography. He calls his x-ray technology Xograms which is the fusion of visible light and x-ray imagery.

One of his artworks that I find very beautiful is the x-ray of a goldfish in a bowl. I think the colors and composition of this image is amazing. Because you could see through the goldfish and it gives a bit of eerie vibe to see all the details of every bone under the fins and the body. One of his most famous work is the “Femme Fatale” which is an image of his wife’s foot in a high-heeled shoe. The colors are vibrant and its image is very iconic. This relates back to Elizabeth Fleischmann’s work and he is taking x-ray art form into a great stage.

Another artist I found was Nick Veaey, he is a photographer that plays with x-ray from a small scale such as a feather to large scale like a Boeing 747. Through the images of x-ray, viewers could see much more than just a regular photograph. It really caught my attention when he mentioned that he uses dead people or skeletons that have been used for radiation experiments. By “reusing” the body, he is able to create such “lively” actions for these bodies. With the use of dead bodies, there is less controversy of exposing radiation on people alive. I guess using dead bodies is definitely more ethical and decreases risk of over exposing.

Overall, seeing the different colors and scales of human and plants x-ray photography as an art form is very eye-catching. It brings more to the photographic world and these artists utilizes the materials so well it gives me chills to just view them.

Nick Veasey:

National Geographic Article on Hugh Turvey:

Wen Kuo


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