Radiologists and photographers share a common urge to capture the hidden depths of people and things, though rarely do their skills and methods overlap. Since 1996, Nick Veasey has been combining the art of photography and the science of radiology to create images that reveal the surprising, fragile, sometimes disturbing inner structures of the human body, animals, plants and objects. He's collected around 200 of his favorites in X-Ray: See Through the World Around You, out in Britain this month.
It all started when, given a chance to play with a scanner, Veasey chose to X-ray his own worn-out sneakers, the first of many "junk" items toys, teacups, gadgets he's since experimented with. "They may look awful on the surface," Veasey writes, "but once the internal workings are revealed ... all objects can be appreciated for their structure."
Now Veasey has a studio in an old radar station lined with a foot of lead and equipped with an industrial scanner 60 times as powerful as medical ones. But to make a life-size X ray of a Boeing 777 for Boston's Logan Airport in 2003, even that wasn't enough he needed artistic ingenuity too. Over several months, he digitally stitched together 500 separate X-rays of the plane. The resulting picture is exquisite and gets beneath the surface of every detail. Except for the pilot and crew: for them, Veasey used skeletons as stand-ins.