Still everybody is in a state of shock about the natural and nuclear disaster that devastated Japan last week. At first you think you are not prepared to deal with something like an exhibition of photos by a guy who uses X-rays – RADIOACTIVE RADIATION – to create his images. How scary art can be! So this is about British photographer Nick Veasey. He uses nuclear radiation to visualise his art. His pictures are amazingly beautiful. Art gallery Jungwirth in Graz opened the show yesterday.
Photographer and art gallery owner Christian Jungwirth did not spare any effort to live up to Nick Veasey´s oeuvre when he designed the invitation letter.
He copied one of Veasey´s images to genuine X-ray film material and, above all, used those original envelopes – in which doctors and hospitals hand you out your X-rays – to mail invitations to the exhibition to his clients. Surprise facor: high (First thought upon opening the envelope: I havent´t been X-rayed recently……… Astonished Reinhard Fasching viewing an X-rayed teddy bear on a 30 cm x 40 cm negative sheet smiling at him.) Collector´s value: +++
In 15 years of intensely dealing with X-ray photography Nick Veasey´s pushed his unique work close to perfection. In an interview Veasey explains that taking X-ray photos for medical uses on analog equipment is very similar to the technique you apply when you produce images for the advertising industry. Exposure has become a digital process in the majority of cases. Analog equipment has become rare and hard to find. So finding appropriate equipment kept Nick Veasey busy for a long time. He got lucky in technical industry. Nowadays he works in analog fashion, using film in a bunker near London which was used by the military formerly. His main concern is to work with great care as to avoid accidents and keep safety high. He would not allow anyone to assist him when he carries out the X-raying process using either one of 3 X-ray aparatusses. After that it is his team´s turn to take care of the finish of the pictures on digital equipment.
This type of photographic technique can be very time-consuming. Looking at the image of an aeroplane it is hard to believe that it took him well over one year to realise it. It makes sense when you find out that the plane was shipped from the USA to his studio in London in single components.
My favourites are Nick Veasey´s fashion illustrations and the stories covering them. They unmask the fascination about beauty in an impressive way and let us look beyond this artificial world and
how it falls apart when you catch a glimpse of reality. It is interesting how the focus of attention is taken from the frontside to the backside. Who ever thought of what happens to a woman´s foot when wearing Prada high heels, for instance? Did you expect a woman literally walking on her toe nails with her most probably not even noticing it. Veasey´s nature photography is also stunning. He shows us unexpected insights into the fragility of flora and fauna.
Go see Nick Veasey´s X-rays at Atelier Jungwirth in Graz (until June 4, 2011).