History of X-ray art and artists


There is a long history of X-rays as art, the earliest some 100 years ago. Almost as soon as X-ray machines became available for use in medicine images were being taken of flowers etc. as art objects. Quote from Radiographics follows: Merril Raikes, Radiographics http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.235035045 “Floral radiography is not new. Images were published by Goby in 1913 and by Hall-Edwards in 1914. The process did not receive much attention until the 1930s with the work of Hazel Engelbrecht and Dain Tasker, MD. Engelbrecht’s work sprang from scientific research of botanical specimens, whereas Tasker was interested in artistic presentation. Tasker’s images were entered into photographic exhibits and subsequently published in the prestigious U S Camera. A recent book about Tasker shows 20 prints of his flower x-ray images. Some of his original prints have been bought by art collectors for tens of thousands of dollars. Sporadically, people have played with the process. Albert Richards, a retired dental x-ray professor from the University of Michigan, did a lot of work in the 1960s and 1970s. He published a book called The Secret Garden with 100 floral prints. Similar work today is not rare, but it is uncommon. Steven Meyers, Albert Koetsier, and Judith McMillian all have extensive portfolios and in 2001 had an exhibition of 40–50 pieces in southern California. Both Meyers and Koetsier have Web sites that display their work.” The following is a list of some artists, approximate dates of work and their modes – it is incomplete and I invite further examples to be added.

The X-ray Art genre

Many artists have used unprocessed X-rays in their own right –

I was riding the bus

Diane Covert, http://www.x-rayproject.org/ (with permission) Diane Covert documents the X-rays of people in Jerusalem injured in war, specifically terrorist attacks. The X-rays and CT scans in her exhibit are new ways to make figurative images and portraits. They represent life in the modern cross-section of these artistic traditions – both the desire to observe and describe reality with the most modern techniques available, and the need to think and talk about it. All of her images are the by-products of terrorism, which is a war on a civilian population. Terrorists pack their bombs with common objects – hex nuts, bolts, nails, watches – all meant for peaceful, utilitarian purposes. By blasting them into human beings, they create the madness of our times. An alternative is to take a flower or sea-shell, X-ray it, and admire the beauty of the pattern it makes.

(permission sought)

Albert Koetsier http://www.beyondlight.com/subjects.html (Permission sought) Steven Meyers, http://www.xray-art.com (with permission). He says: “In 1997 I became very serious about this art form and have created over 3000 different images since. Currently … edited down to about 100 favorites, most of the images fail because of composition! There is no lens to compose the images. Floral radiography, even in its 70 year history, is for the most part unexplored, and I am committed to seeking out new and interesting subjects in nature. Going through some old photography from the 70’s I found this early floral radiograph made with standard hospital type xray equipment approximately 1975.” Objects diverse as handbags to whole buses have been X-rayed. Nick Veasey has taken this to another level, he says; we all make assumptions based on the external visual aspects of what surrounds us and we are attracted to people and forms that are aesthetically pleasing. I like to challenge this automatic way that we react to just physical appearance by highlighting the, often surprising, inner beauty. We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that beauty is more than skin deep. By revealing the inside, the quintessential element of my art speculates upon what the manufactured and natural world really consists of.

Front end Loader

Nick Veasey, http://www.nickveasey.com/ (with permission)

Computer Keyboard

Nick Veasey, http://www.nickveasey.com/ (with permission) Noah Spurrier, http://www.noah.org/science/x-ray/art/ (with permission) The images are sometimes coloured and manipulated for added effect

Unknown artist (permission sought)

Unknown artist http://oursurprisingworld.com/xray-art/

Ben Kruisdjik a Dutch artist uses old X-ray films as a medium upon which to work, either by engraving the emulsion or painting onto it directly, the images seem to bear no relationship between the subject of the painting or the original X-ray picture and sometimes even carry patient identification marks. He says that when looking around we see things which can be given names, together these things form a vocabulary that can be used to communicate ideas and experiences that normally cannot be expressed using our verbal language. The genre of still life paintings could be seen as an example, as all the elements in the painting form metaphors and therefore function as a language. This system of (visual) language surrounds us and functions as a medium between the factual and the fictional. He likes to work with these systems of (visual) language, they allow him to create an abstract framework in which to think and dream without obstacles. He says this a space in which all possible steps can be made without having to obey the laws of physics.


Ben Kruisdijk, http://www.benkruisdijk.com/rontgen  (with permission)

There is a penchant for making up images using computer graphics to produce pseudo-X-rays of “nudes” for calendars

Skeletal nude (permission sought)

Eizo X-ray Pin-Up Calendar http://www.thecoolist.com/eizo-x-ray-pin-up-calendar/ (permission sought) And there are all kinds of variations on these themes.

Chest X-ray infra-red coloured

Larry Berman, http://colorxrays.com/gallerymedical.htm (with permission). Larry Berman’s beautiful work is the closest to what I am doing. He uses infra-red photography, combined with digital processing to produce stunning images of X-rays

Big Mac CT scan

Satre Stuelke www.radiologyart.com (With permission) who has used a CT scanner to scan objects of varying size and shape to get beautiful transparent images. He is a physician and artist , and has founded the Radiology Art project to explore the hidden content and structure of everyday things. This project intends to make it easier for patients to relate to some radiology procedures they experience during medical care through deeper visualization of various objects that hold unique cultural importance in contemporary society. 3D imaging technology is a tool that can be used to create an image of the inner body anatomically accurate yet not medical and more reflective of the personal bodies that we inhabit.

Airways of the lungs using CT scan and drawing

Laura Ferguson www.lauraferguson.net (with permission) has produced haunting images of her own body using CT and MRI scans. She feels that following in the renaissance tradition she can make an artistic investigation into the nature of human experience.

What Lies Behind Our Nose by Kai-hung Fung

“What lies behind our nose?” is an award winning piece. It is a CT scan of the nose & sinuses in a patient with thyrotoxic eye disease. Acknowledgement Dr Kai-Hing Fung

Butterfly on lotus leaf by Kai-hung Fung(1)

“Butterfly on lotus leaf” is a recent work in the “magic realism” series. It is a montage of photograph of butterfly and 3D CT scan of a lotus leave. Acknowledgement Dr Kai-Hung Fung

Kai-hung Fung –at  http://3dvisa.cch.kcl.ac.uk/project37.html  (With Permission )  is a medical doctor and a specialist in diagnostic radiology in Hong Kong China. He applies radiology to visual arts. Using his experience of 3D Computer Tomography for medical diagnosis, he creates artistic images of the human body based on data acquired from CT scanners. There are many ways to rendering the 3D CT e.g. using semi-transparency and colour rendering algorithms to produce artistic effect. However, Dr Kai-hung Fung feels the ‘rainbow technique’ which he invented is particularly appealing aesthetically.

Pomegranate by Andy Ellison

Pomegranate by Andy Ellison

Andy Ellison http://insideinsides.blogspot.com.au/ (Permission sought) is a MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School. He runs a research only Philips 3 Tesla MRI and has manually acquired all his images. Although he does not use the word “art” in his blog, he produces beautiful images in 3D, and Dynamic images that have an otherworldly feel about them. He has chosen his Blog title Inside Insides well, this describes what he is showing us.

C Wong

64 Slice by C Wong

Chris Wong (Permission granted) is a radiologist in Sydney, Australia who works with images daily. He produces beautiful images as part of his interest in photography.


Yury Shpakovski; Revelation of Roentgen.

Yury Shpakovski (with permission) http://www.art-dolls.com/xrays/index.html He has a surrealist approach to art and produces X-ray like images on Cardboard. This is the first picture in his series. The snake or serpent of wisdom temptation absorbed person?

Delvoye 2

Wim Delvoye; Chapel, December 2001


Wim Delvoye; Lick 1, 2001

Wim Delvoye (Permission sought) http://www.wimdelvoye.be/   He has a very different approach to the use of X-rays in art. Many images are erotic or scatological. (There are some concerns about radiation dose in production of X-rays that are clearly non-medical. Are the participants aware of the dangers of radiation? This is not addressed in his website.)  He also incorporates X-rays into beautiful lead-light windows.


Judith McMillan: Polgonatum biflorum

Judith McMillan (Permission sought) http://www.judithkmcmillan.com/  She is a photographer who produces a range of X-rays of flowers and plants, each is lightly tinted. She uses an X-ray machine as her camera and photographs the internal structures of plants revealing the natural beauty of forms invisible to the human eye that are both ephemeral and beautiful.

George Taylor

George Taylor: Nautilus

George Taylor (With permission) http://taylorimaging.smugmug.com is a paediatric radiologist and a photographer of note with an extraordinary range of images to show. Amongst these are his X-ray art. This consists of delicately conceived and executed images of plants and flowers, shells, and composite images like the one above, very simply and beautifully modified.


Hugh Turvey (With Permission) http://www.bir.org.uk/about-us/artist-in-residence/ permanent artist in residence at the British Institute of Radiology. He is an artist looking for transparency in a ‘smoke and mirrors’ world of spin and media manipulation. Fascinated by on what is hidden and in focussing on the spaces in between, his Xograms make the everyday appear uncommon, debunking the myth that beauty is only skin deep.


Hugh Turvey; X-grams


Copyright Hugh Turvey

Mark Penhale, ( with permission) http://www.markpenhale.com documents the fate of many dead, discarded and decaying animals and objects. He appreciates the intrinsic beauty of light passing through a black void. He uses the opportunity to search beneath the surface for beauty and meaning.

Mark Penhale

Mark Penhale

David Maisel (permission sought) http://davidmaisel.com/works/content_2009.asp?pg=inf_abo&tl=Bio/CV is the author of a book of X-ray photographs of antique objects from the Getty Museum. He is also a well recognised artist with many exhibitions and works in public collections. The X-ray images have a haunting quality as well as being of value in scientific study of the structure of the objects themselves. They are diagnostic tools that reveal technologies, dates, past repairs and even hidden treasures. For example, the dark spots seen here in the male figures may be casting flaws– perhaps voids from bubbles during the casting.

David Maisel. Antique statues

David Maisel. Antique statues

Leslie Wright, http://www.fineartradiography.com/about.html (Permission sought) built her own X-ray machine at age 17. She now takes images of objects, specialising in flowers, and has won awards for her work.

Leslie Wright; Honeysuckle

Leslie Wright; Honeysuckle

Bert Meyers  http://www.brucemcgaw.com/artists/bert-myers (with permission) is a retired professor of surgery with an interest in holography and X-ray art. He has produced many images of objects, and these are coloured and mounted – the first I have seen using metallic inks.

Bert Meyers; copyright McGaw Graphics. Neptune's garden 1

Bert Meyers; Neptune’s garden 1 .  © Bert Myers / Published by McGaw Graphics, Inc.

Stane Jagodic – http://www.diogenpro.com/uploads/4/6/8/8/4688084/stane_jagodich_biography.pdf – (Permission sought) is a photographer who studied in Ljubljana and has had a prolific career in abstract art. He  combines the scientific use of the photographic media and artistic perception, based on adding and sublimation of useful everyday products, transforming and re-evaluating their initial meaning. X-ray photographs thus become an expressive experiment of penetration into the inner structures of organic and inorganic elements of the world, human or machine. During further processing, the x-rays are additionally equipped with selected elements


Melancholy 1996 Stane Jagodic

Stane Jagovic

Stane Jagodic

Guy Viner http://fineartamerica.com/featured/x-ray-of-a-couple-kissing-guy-viner.html (Permission sought) This artist sells his work through Fineart America but I have not been able to find further information about him. Any correspondence would be gratefully received.

Guy Viner; Couple kissing

Guy Viner; Couple kissing

Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi used a CT scanner and X-ray machine to photograph four couples in intimate embraces – but the results are not in the least bit cuddly. While the photographs might be a simple extension of medical X-rays, they paint an intimate yet eerie picture of human relationships. They used a CT scan and X-ray machine to photograph four couples. The students, from Musashino Art University, Japan, said: ‘X-ray images usually show the finite nature of our bodies composed only of matter. But these couples’ portraits reveal a pulse that isn’t normally seen.’ I have been unable to contact either the artists or the Mitsubishi Awards to obtain permission to use this image. I will be happy to remove images from this blog if required. Any correspondence would be gratefully received.


Tomago & Hayashi

Bryan Whitney (with permission) www.x-rayphotography.com   Although Whitney’s artwork is considered photography, he doesn’t use a camera. Instead, Whitney uses an X-ray machine beam to penetrate the chosen object. This process creates an image of the item’s inner structure on a digital plate or sheet of film (similar to how it is done at the doctor’s office). Whitney then digitally adjusts and often colors the black-and-white image to create his final, unique work of art.

Bryan Whitcome

Bryan Whitney

Bryan Whitney also does 3D images and an X-ray animation of a rose can be found at http://x-rayphotography.com/projects/X-Ray_Rose_Film/Rose.html Albert G Richards  http://www-personal.umich.edu/~agrxray/history.html  (Permission sought) was an extraordinary man who trained as a photographer and then taught himself dental radiography. Amongst many other things he explored floral radiography producing beautiful images first published in National Geographic in 1962. He also explored 3D images in floral radiographic art, one of which is reproduced here.

3D lily

Albert G Richards

Jim Wehtje http://jimwehtje.photoshelter.com (With permission) produces amazing pictures of objects exquisitely imaged in great resolution. He says: “X-ray photography by its nature produces a softer look than photography that captures just a surface. I use specialized x-ray equipment to get optimal detail and sharpness. Plants particularly require a unit that can expose with the low-energy Grenz rays, and even then their less-dense delicate parts will have low contrast. I work meticulously to digitally enhance contrast while trying to avoid pixellation. I do all my own editing. Though I am often fighting for more contrast, to get top results for things with larger density ranges I may make multiple exposures and put them together digitally (analagous to HDR in more traditional photography). I try to be true to the natural forms of the subjects in my digital editing. I often add color. For the seashells particularly I have added dramatic non-natural coloring, but also provided pure versions without color. A radiograph of a seashell is essentially the same whether exposed from one side or the opposite side since the rays go through the whole object. Interestingly, people usually interpret shell radiographs to have been taken with the operculum side towards them rather than away. Since most shells are dextral (“right-handed”) rather than sinistral they often think an image is backwards and needs to be flopped, when it really has no correct orientation since it could be a view from either end of an axis. I am actually left-handed, but not sinister.”


Jim Wehtjie; Art print 13, Human

Martin Köhler Photographer for Grey Advertising Agency Argentina  http://www.ibelieveinadv.com/  (Permission sought) Is advertising art? I believe it is. Although there is no discussion regarding the photography on their website, the images produced for Mr Clean clearly fit into the category.

Mr Clean

Martin Köhler; Hips for Mr Clean

Andre J Bruwer. http://skiagraphics.com/index.html  (This image is copyright, reproduced here with permission) Is a South African Radiologist who has practiced in Tucson for many years. Author of a book of radiological signs.”Classic Descriptions in Diagnostic Roentgenology“. He explores natural objects, taking delight in the varied densities of their structure, these contain an interesting array of shadows – tulips with overlapping petals and dark pistils, and shells with delicate gradations of grey, and tiny chambers on display as never seen before.  


Morning Glory, Andre J Bruwer

Merrill Raikes; http://artid.com/members/merrillraikes/  (Permission Sought) is a retired radiographer using old highly detailed medical equipment to produce exquisite images of flowers.

Merril Raikes

Merrill Raikes; Sweet-peas

David Arky http://www.arky.com/  (With permission) Brooklyn, New York. is best known for his still life, conceptual and x-ray photography. He loves to create clean, crisp photographs with an eye to simplifying objects to their elemental qualities, depicting their form and texture. He studied photography at the Art Center College of Design and Rochester Institute of Technology .  He  enjoys sharing his passion for photography with students at the International Center of Photography, where he has taught since 2001. His pictures have a subtle humour which is very engaging.

David Arky

David Arky; Man’s Torso for Levis

Don Dudenbostel http://www.x-rayarts.com (With Permission) is a photographer extraordinaire and has had many exhibitions of his work, both photographic and X-ray. The detail in his work is remarkable.

Dudenbbostel 2

Don Dudenbostel: Collard Greens

Peter Dazeley (Current) dazeleyfineart.com (Permission sought) is an award winning photographer in London who works with a variety of techniques including X-rays of objects such as flowers, fish, and inanimate objects (guns). His pictures have a haunting transparency and a simplicity of arrangement.


Copyright Peter Dazeley; Fish

Peter Dazely was also responsible for an advertising poster for the election. There was some controversy over the image with some claiming it came from an abused child. Dazely states categorically that the child had not been abused.

Labour poster

Copyright Peter Dazely

Arie van ‘t Reit (Current) http://xrart.nl/ (Permission granted) is a medical physicist in The Netherlands who has imaged many objects including paintings, banknotes, etc. His forte is X-Ray Photography of nature. This is a challenge because often there are large differences in attenuation of X-rays. The x-ray of a bird in a tree requires, on the one hand, low-energy X-ray radiation which is somewhat attenuated by a tree leaf so that it is shown, but on the other hand, enough high energy x-ray radiation to penetrate through the bird so that it is also displayed. He likes to stress that his images are not made using clinical equipment but in his own studio, and all animals used are deceased because to expose living animals to radiation is not justified. He also produces time-lapse X-rays as short video clips. See his video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYGRX_t8LU&list=PLsRNoUx8w3rP1VF9Sj7XBixT4tRwV5Znx

Arie van 't Reit

Arie van ‘t Reit; Chameleon

Roy Livingston, http://x-rayvisions.com/ (With Permission) Works from Louisville Kentucky, USA His work includes many pictures of objects such as seashells, however he also has a beautiful series of highly coloured and quite philosophical pictures of toy robots and other objects. He has recently won an a Communication Arts photography annual award.

Roy Livingston

Roy Livingston, Robot

Boo Beaumont http://www.boobeaumont.org/  UK Artist, (permission sought) Her images explore the interior architecture of flowers They have an extraordinary stillness about them that transcends their physical structure conveying both a sensual and fragile presence. She won the Royal Horticultural Society gold medal for X-ray flowers in 2004.


Boo Beaumont – Magnolia

Bernadetta Bonichi (With permission)   http://www.toseeinthedark.it   “I was keen on archaeology, ancient history, philosophy and music… But if I look back it seems as if I have always done the same thing. Because archaeology, like biology, the study of ancient texts and radiography are simply different ways of delving, of pursuing the one true mystery known as the visible, the archetype. Whether it lies under a ton of earth, in a DNA fragment or in an image from a glossy magazine, it’s always a question of  gloss.”   Bonichi has an exquisite and extraordinary approach to X-rays that has roots in both archaeology and fine art.


Benedetta Bonichi – SPOSI. Bonichi has a bit of fun at punning off the “until death do us part” segment of the marriage ceremony. Here the X-ray quality brings the macabre more into the forefront as we view a ghostly couple participating in a toast.

Bonichi 1

Benedetta Bonichi – DONNA CHE SI PETTINA – 1999


Hybrid Medical animation http://www.hybridmedicalanimation.com/work/animation/x-ray-body-in-motion/ (With permission) is a team of people who make up animations based on medical images. They have made a truly amazing animation of a whole skeleton doing yoga. The goal for this piece was to create a realistic representation of radiological imaging, but instead of just creating a still image, however, they wanted to combine the beautiful moves of yoga with this new visual approach to bring the full human skeleton to life. The artists technical challenges included achieving proper bone densities and representing actual bone marrow inside each individual bone. The director of Scientific American quotes their work as: “Hybrid’s illustrations and animations extend beyond the boundary of highly informative graphics: they enter the realm of high art, achieving a combination of Truth and Beauty”.  A visual study/exploration of the body in motion with a focus on yoga poses. The images presented here are cut from a stunning animation that takes the skeleton through a series of yoga poses. Hybrid 1 Hybrid 2 Angela Palmer http://www.angelaspalmer.com/ (permission sought) is an Oxford and London based sculptor and installation artist. She works with images derived from MRI and CT scans of bodies, both human and animal and interprets these scans in delicate drawings or engravings on glass, which hint at the fragility of life.

Angela palmer 1

MRI Portrait Angela Palmer

Erika Rae at http://www.core77.com/blog/materials/mid-century_music_piracy_soviet_russias_bone_music_bootlegs_are_way_cooler_than_your_torrented_post-chillwave_tunes_27208.asp (permission sought) has collected a set of bootlegged jazz records that Russian music fans found a way to listen to music using discarded X-ray films. The music was pressed onto discarded film using phonographs converted into very primitive burners for vinyl. Because the skeletons were shown on the X-rays the handmade discs were known as “bone music.” Look at her blog to see a selection of these amazing artefacts.

Bootleg jazz

Erika Rae – Bootleg Jazz

Brett Prywitch, MD, http://www.penumbraart.com/ (With permission) A practicing radiologist in St. Louis, USA, selects parts of medical imaging scans and combines them to form pictures of everything from a sidewalk scene to Groucho Marx. His works show how “the human body and its internal structures can be used as the palette to create common everyday objects or scenes, as well as abstract ideas,” “The mundane ‘nuts and bolts’ of radiology can be turned into art.” His whimsical and interesting pieces are reflective of the way that ordinary everyday objects can impact on the artistic eye. “There were so many images… and they were just beautiful,”


Passing in the night. Copyright Brett Prywitch

Brendan Fitzpatrick  www.brendanfitzpatrick.com (With permission) is an Australian photographer who lives in Sydney. He’s an insatiably curious photographer working in a variety of genres for over twenty years. After 12 years in Singapore he returned to Sydney, Australia. He uses many different styles and methods and feels the idea and the message come first, selecting the technique that will deliver that message as succinctly as possible. He uses both chest X-ray and mammography equipment to explore the extraordinary visual potential of radiography. His work is occasionally posted to Facebook at facebook.com/invisiblelightxrayart It is rare for an X-ray artist to make a self-portrait!

Invisible light

X-Ray of Three Chillis. Copyright Brendan Fitzpatrick

Invisible light 2

Self Portrait Brendan Fitzpatrick

Chris Thorn, http://www.xrayartdesign.co.uk  (with permission) wildlife artist and radiographer, with studios at the magnificent Lost Gardens of Heligan, and historic Mount Edgecombe Country Park. UK. Trained in Radiography in 1968 whilst employed by local Radiographic Testing company. He had an early interest in the study and form of plants, and wildlife of the British Isles, and set about recording his view of familiar plants, flowers and wildlife creatures by making contemporary X-ray studies and drawings. He feels that the two formats are especially appealing to nature enthusiasts; both those wanting a reminder of the character of creatures we share our countryside with, and those seeking a deeper insight into the functioning structures, normally hidden from our view. He posts to facebook at;  facebook/xrayartdesign

Chris Thorn

Brown Long Eared Bat, Copyright Chris Thorn. Wellcome Image Awards 2014

Matthew Cox, http://matthewcoxartist.com (With permission) is a Philadelphia- based artist who brings together a variety of media in his  work. Medical x-rays and embroidery, are used to produce what has been called a “mash-up” of sharply contrasting materials. The art is simultaneously a cheery and spooky commentary on the human condition.  He says: ‘handling these media also gives me an opportunity to comment on the ever-increasing presence of photography in contemporary art by introducing labour over the quick, slickness of film.’ His subjects are drawn from pop culture icons and ancient avatars – Snow White, Barbie and Krishna statuettes.

Matthew Cox

Matthew Cox, Avatar #6 Ganesha (with hairpins)

Matthew cox 2

Matthew Cox, Daisy bracelet

Takayuki Hori’s (Kanazawa College Graduate School of Arts and Craft) (permission sought) http://www.m-kagaku.co.jp/mcjda/award2010/awd01_det01.html . Hori takes the traditional art of origami to another level of poignancy in Oritsunagumono, (translated as ‘things folded and connected’) which uses skeletal X-rays of endangered waterfowl and sea turtles printed on transparent plastic, and folded into Origami sculptures . The works were created to highlight the environmental threat of pollution to a number of species native to Japan’s coastal waterways. The only colour in her pieces comes from the ubiquitous marine garbage swallowed by wild birds and reptiles included within the origami sculpture. Her work won first place in the 2010 Mitsubishi Chemical Junior Designer Competition in 2010. The work is beautiful, but undeniably grim.

Hori 1

Takayuki Hori Origami, Bird

Hori 2

Takayuki Hori, Origami Sea turtle

Steve Miller, http://www.Stevemiller.com (permission granted) , artist and early pioneer of the Sci-Art movement. Lives in New York City and Eastern Long Island.

Miller 1

Steve Miller, Edible Estates, 209 Acrylic, silk-screen on canvas

Miller 2

Steve Miller, portrait of Jacques and Veronique Mauguin, 1993. acrylic and silk-screen on canvas

Major projects include a multimedia computer installation, silk-screen computer generated images and his Vanitas series in which he photographed his own blood with a microscopic camera. He has collaborated with scientists from Brokehaven National laboratory and Rockefeller University. His most recent body of work, Health of the Planet, is a series of x-ray photographs of Amazonian flora and fauna, and was exhibited at Oi Futuro Ipanema, Brazil in 2013. His x-ray projects show a lightness of touch that is unusual in this genre and are quite unique in their content.

Dilek Ozturk   (http://definitivetouch.com/news/dilek-ozturk-insideoutside/#sthash.GeRwfy7h.dpuf) (Permission sought) is a Turkish photographer who as a graduation project at istanbul Bilgi University created ‘Inside-Outside,’ a haunting series of X-rays and photographs of her own body that melds images together. The images, beautifully executed and edited, convey a ghostly glow about the subject, creating an interplay between the immediate surface of the image and the depths it explores. She says; “…this work is about exposing what is there under the skin and the top of the skin.”


Copyright Dilek Ozturk

Marc Ferrante  www.marcferrante.com (With permission) lives in Strasbourg, France. He has a deep philosophical understanding of the relationship of radiography to art and his website bears exploring. He confines his images to X-rays of hands dancing, moving and making shadow puppets. He says;The first X-rays photography ever made was a picture of Mrs. Roentgen’s hand. There is an enduring contradiction here: the hand clutches, touches, caresses, expresses, whereas radiography is a screen separating the subject from his own body, allowing the doctor to take over. Moreover, X-rays show only a partial image of oneself. While it miraculously penetrates the body and reveals its anatomy or constituent parts, it also masks the vibrant complexity of the being. It removes the skin, and everything else that makes up one’s personality, life, or feelings… I (have) tried to approach radiography from an entirely different angle, to find out whether life can be breathed into these images.”

Karateka 07

Marc Ferrante, Karateka 07

Dance of hands

Marc Ferrante, Dance of Hands, Play on a Mudra.

Ergon 07, Prometheus Dream 01

Marc Ferrante, Ergon 07, Prometheus Dream 01

Sheila Pinkel http://sheilapinkel.com/ (With Permission) is emeritus professor at Pomona College Claremont, California USA, where she taught art from 1986 – 2012. Since 1983, she has been an international editor of “Leonardo,” the publication devoted to the intersection of art, science and technology. She gained access to mammogram technology at the Xerox Medical Research Centre in Pasadena in 1978 where she intermittently used their research equipment until 1982. She placed objects on a charged selenium plate which was then placed in an X-Ray box and exposed. The plate with the ‘latent image’ was then placed in a special Xerox machine and one minute later a print emerged. The colour blue was selected for the toner in the Xerox machine because doctors prefer that colour. She was attracted to this technology because it made visible the internal structure of living and man made things and was able to record subtle tissue density, something that was not possible with conventional X-Ray at that time.

Who owns nature 6%22 x 10%22sml

Sheila Pinkel, Who owns nature?

Agnes Denes, http://www.agnesdenesstudio.com/ (Permission sought) Hungarian-born American conceptual artist based in New York. “Denes seems to straddle science and art in a way reminiscent of Leonardo—the effort to totalize nature in a single system and to make the visible as a sign of the invisible to be comprehended…..In expending her ambitious reach, Denes has encompassed many of the themes expressed in the long tradition of commingled art and science. And like the great artist before her, she continues to grasp for a still greater purchase on the total knowledge of humanity…For Denes and the kindred artists who preceded her and who are at work today, science affords a toehold on comprehension.”

Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes. Stingray

Rosie Leventon http://www.rosieleventon.com/ (With permission) makes sculptural installations, for indoors and environmental art in the landscape, using a broad variety of materials from human hair and paperback books to water stone earth and recycled central heating pipes. This image is a portable art screen which uses x ray photos instead of the usual decorative designs. She has torn X-rays across so that they look more like stormy landscapes than medical records.

Rosie leventon

Rosie Leventon – Screen

Wreck 3 is a suspended translucent boat shape made of X-ray photographs.


Rosie Leventon; Wreck 3

Kristie 2

Kristie Hayes-Beaulieu Glowing Ambition

Kristie Hayes-Beaulieu

Kristie Hayes-Beaulieu Twice Right

Kristie Hayes-Beaulieu is an art teacher, Solvay High School, Syracuse, New York http://artistwebsites.com/profiles/kristie-hayes.html Her amazing artworks seek to diminish the darkness of the X-rays and reclaim in-depth beauty seen via the radiologic process ADVERTISEMENTS: I am thinking of running a separate section in which Advertisements include X-rays, some produce stunning artworks such as this one from Levi & Strauss: Levi Strauss & Co http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/levis_copper_jeans_xray_male     Reconstructed is the Fall/Winter 2007 print campaign for Levi’s Copper Jeans. Much the same way Copper Jeans’ seams and pockets are held in place with metal rivets, broken bones can be reconstructed with metal pins and plates. The vintage x-ray treatment is a nod to Levi’s 154 year heritage, as well helping to showcase Copper’s product features in an interesting, new light.


Levi & Strauss; Reconstructed


Mohamed Hamza; Current, Egypt. http://cairoartsblog.com/tag/mohamed-hamza/  works in a variety of media – photography, painting, installation and video. 2012 he won the grand prize for his installation “Scanning Room,”. Hamza is a commercial photographer and graphic designer as well as a visual artist. He lives and works in Cairo. Hamza developed x-ray films that, from a distance, appear to depict human bones, yet up close show skeletons made entirely of machinery parts and wires. The project examines how contemporary society’s immersion in digital technology has affected our humanity, putting forward the question: Are we becoming automated beings?


Mahomed Hamza, detail from “Scanning Room”


Erica Seccombe (current) (http://www.ericaseccombe.com.au/item.asp?aID=1) With permission. From Canberra, Australia is a visual artist with a printmaking background and combines photographic screen print with digital and electronic media. Working with researchers in the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics and using 3D Microcomputed X-ray technology she has created animated projection installations from volumetric data rendered in Drishti. She now works on a project germinating seeds and creating timelapse animations with 3D Micro-X-rays investigating the aesthetic possibilities of computational extension of 3D vision. She attempts to merge science, technology, art and culture in an innovative way and by transcending conventional images of seeds germinating endeavours to create new work with meaning beyond a purely scientific interpretation of data.

Mung 2

Sprouting Mung Beans, Erica  Seccombe. For Youtube video visit;  www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-18/x-ray-vision-shows-seeds-sprouting/6900460

Mung 3

GROW. Erica Seccombe


Dr Maria-Theodora Dimaki (current) www.mariatheodoradimaki.com (Permission sought) is a self taught artist from Gannouli in Greece. She is a forensic pathologist by training inspired by the realism of science and the agony of mortality. Her work is mainly on X-rays which she uses as a canvas and etches with a scalpel, works on with paint, pastels, and charcoal to produce fine artworks that display a level of fantasy based on her knowledge of anatomy. She blends pictures of humans or animals with the image on the X-ray.  Her combination of art and science produces an “inwardness”, she says. She Peeps under the flesh capturing the sense, the sentiment, the soul, and the truth. She says the X-ray is a “snapshot of matter” and etching as “storytelling”

Diamaki 1

Dr Maria-Theodora Dimaki. Rapunzel 1

Dimaki 2 Lakshmi

Dr Maria-Theodora Dimaki; Lakshmi


Bertil Leidner (with permission) http://www.leidnerimaging.se/ (Current) is a radiologist formerly working at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm. He finds working with radiological images of the human body is a fascinating trip. His daily work is about creating images that help to diagnose diseases and injuries. Contrasting with this he’s also  fascinated with the beauty within the images themselves, where they actually may stand out as individual pieces of artwork. Since the late 60´s he is a photographer with longstanding interests in modern art and glass and has now merged his interests with professional radiological imaging. His prime focus is working with image combinations, both with medical images blended with photos, and montages based solely on digital photography with advanced image processing.

double selfportrait

Bertil Leidner – Eradicate Illness

Bertil Leidner

Bertil Leidner – Open Mind 2




COMMENT; As far as I can tell, (although it has now been done using cross-sectional techniques such as CT and MRI), no-one has taken a simple chest X-ray as the starting point in order to manipulate the visual impact to produce an art-work that relates either to the disease that the image has been taken for, or produces a message related to the situation of the X-ray investigation. That is my starting point. I see my images as a process that begins with a plain X-ray images of a person that passes through a series of changes. Those changes alter perception of the image in such a way as both to enhance and reveal both the inner beauty of the image and the aesthetic of the artist.

34 Responses to “History of X-ray art and artists”

  1. Mark and Saskia April 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm #


  2. littledogslaughed May 18, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    This is amazing and fascinating! I look forward to seeing more-
    Thank you too for visiting LIttle dogs Laughed-I appreciate you taking the time to visit-

  3. elmediat September 16, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Excellent post Tony. What a fascinating range of visual artists.

    • Xraypics September 16, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      Thankyou. I am trying to compose a full list of artists using radiology as a starting point for their art. If you happen upon any I don;t have please let me know. The variety of techniques is amazing. I love the 3D effects using MRI. Cheers, Tony

      • elmediat September 16, 2013 at 7:31 am #

        Just came across an article on Video footage of X-ray images showing movement.

      • Xraypics September 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

        Thankyou, I can’t imagine how I came to miss it! I’ll include something from it. Tony

      • Nicholas Herbert April 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

        One photographer who started doing this way back in the late Eighties in the UK I think is Peter Dazeley. You can find his site here: http://www.peterdazeley.com not sure if he has any X-ray images up though, but I’m sure he has an archive. Best, Nicholas.

      • Xraypics April 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

        Thankyou, I always wondered who did the Labour advertisement “Next time they’ll cut to the bone”. I remember there was some controversy over it. I shall have to include that in the list. Cheers, Tony

      • Xraypics April 7, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

        Looking back I have Dazely in the list already (he never replied to my request for permission to include him) but I decided to add his advertisement for the Labour party because of the controversy it caused. Thanks again for stimulating me to look at his artworks in more detail.

      • Nicholas Herbert April 12, 2016 at 12:17 am #

        Not at all. I’m surprised he never responded though. He’s a nice guy. Best Nicholas.

  4. omafaim January 16, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    see http://www.marcferrante.com, he worked on the human X-rays for 10 years! and not to look pretty!

    • Xraypics January 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

      Thankyou so much I shall include Marc in my catalogue. An excellent suggestion!

  5. Rosie Leventon May 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    Some amazing images here. I particularly love the works by Laura Ferguson. I also made several fairly large x ray ships in the 80s and 90s.

    • Xraypics May 11, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

      Thankyou Rosie. I’ve just managed to upload one of your ships which is pretty amazing inits own right.

  6. raygunz October 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Hi you have permission to use my work. Also, Recently I’ve won a Communication Arts photography annual award in August and have had articles in Fast Company http://m.fastcompany.com/3049859/exposure/colorful-x-ray-photos-illuminate-the-beauty-of-vintage-industrial-design and Wired http://www.wired.com/2015/08/vivid-x-rays-reveal-guts-robots-radios/ about my work along with Beautiful Decay and Faith is Torment. With linking articles in Trend Hunter and Cool Hunting.


    • Xraypics October 20, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Thankyou so much for agreeing to allow me to show your work. and congratulations on your award! Much deserved I must say.

  7. omafaim November 14, 2015 at 4:24 am #

    Hello if you like x-rays sculptures look at this: http://www.marcferrante.com/knucklebones/
    best TG

    • Xraypics November 14, 2015 at 9:13 am #

      Thank you, I will include this in my catalogue of x-Ray artists. Always appreciate the lead!

  8. jamesg MOON February 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    Great! So happy to receive this article.

  9. Artie February 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    Hi there, I came across this a decade ago or so (Maria Theodora Dimaki with etching & cutting x-rays), and now glad to see her work all in one website.

    • Xraypics February 22, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

      I am captivated! Thankyou for giving me this link, it is wonderful, as soon as I can i shall upload her to my list. Also need to contact her to get her permission. Thanks again.

  10. kaiserzose January 10, 2017 at 3:40 am #

    I loved your web about radiology.
    I recommend you continue on Instagram to CT_BCN, all your images are spectacular using CT equipment.
    I have attached several examples.

    • Xraypics January 10, 2017 at 4:56 am #

      Thankyou so much for this comment, and advice. Presently I am working with angiograms. I will follow up on your links. Much appreciated!

  11. Photobooth Journal January 27, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    I have “liked” but haven’t finished reading. Will come back. There are so many wow, wow, wow images here. I love bones and skeletons. I have a half-size, articulated human skeleton that is about thirty years old (He has a nice bone colour. Newer ones are too white) that I got from a junk shop ( he was in my Halloween photo last year so you may have seen him), a real beaver skull and my most exciting recent addition to my modest collection, is a rat skull which I learned how to clean myself. I found the whole rat in a mummified condition in my front garden. It is so delicate and beautiful. I am so pleased with it. All that showing off was really just to say that I love X-rays of bones.

    So glad you dipped into my archives as it lead me to finding this in yours.

    Best wishes to you Tony.


  12. Photobooth Journal January 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    This is the start of a book on the subject, Tony. Are there any already published? You have shared so many stunning works. So captivating.

    How does one go about xraying larger objects or tableau? How do artists who are not already medical professionals get access to the machines? Surely they are highly regulated pieces of equipment?

    I’ve had a wonderful time reading this post, this morning. I will explore some of the links at some point.

    • Xraypics January 29, 2017 at 6:09 am #

      Thankyou. I have seriously thought about putting this into book form, but the first attempt at getting a publisher raised a couple of sharks, and I haven’t had time since then. So glad you enjoyed it. I’ve had fun collecting it.

      • Photobooth Journal January 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

        Yes, I imagine that it might be a thankless task. I recently supported a fabulous book about a collection of vintage Mugshots from one small town in American. It was on Unbound where they publish books after raising a certain amount of money. I was so sure it would get off the ground, but alas, no. Having said that, if you thought you could get media coverage to promote the book, it would be worth trying Unbound. I’d support it, Tony!

      • Xraypics January 29, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

        By the way have you ever seen photo booth pictures with Punch and Judy?

      • Photobooth Journal January 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

        No. Have you? I want them!!! 😊

        That is a great idea for the next time I get to a booth, thanks Tony. Now I just need to find someone who has some puppets I can borrow.

      • Xraypics January 31, 2017 at 6:24 am #

        No, but if I can find a photo booth, some will come winging their way.

  13. Ranne October 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    I have been wanting to become a radiographic artist myself. Is there a how to book out there at all or is this self taught/ apprenticeship. I am licensed and have looked into buying a machine. Plus I have the space, I just do not know once this happens how to go from there.

    • Xraypics October 14, 2017 at 10:42 pm #

      Hi Ranne, thanks for your interest. If you look through the artists that I have collected you will see that there seem to be a few genres within X-ray art.
      The commonest by far is to take an object and make a simple image of it. Sometimes they ar coloured or distorted. These “found objects” can be surprisingly beautiful, or simply banal depending on the artists flair. A sub group of this is to use the radiographic technique in an unusual non-standard way, such as movement.
      Another group pick up old X-ray plates and manipulate them using the plate as a basis for their art, for example one guy turns them into stained glass windows, another embroiders onto them.
      Then there is the group that incorporates X-rays images into their art simply as another vehicle to express themselves such as one might use a paintbrush. My art falls into that category.
      As far as I know there are not any books that suggest a specific technique, and a large part of the genre is experimental. If you wish to begin making art it would be a good idea to go through the entire set of images in my blog “History of X-ray art” which I think is the most complete record in existence, and follow up the links to the artists. See what they are doing, decide where you fit into the picture, and what you can bring that is new and exciting.
      I hope you find your inner X-ray artist, and I would love to see your work. Incidentally, if you find any artist that I haven’t listed, please let me know so that I can add them.

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