x rays photography

Wallace Kirkland :: Contestants (from left) Marianne Baba, Lois Conway and Ruth Swenson pose with trophies and their X-rays. Winners of Miss Perfect Posture contest at chiropractors convention, 1956 (Life Magazine) / source: NPR

Group portrait | Photographer Unknown | 1980

Debbie Harry [Blondie], Viv Albertine [The Slits], Siouxsie Sioux [Siouxsie and the Banshees]

Chrissie Hynde [The Pretenders], Poly Styrene [X-Ray Spex], Pauline Black [The Selecter]

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Spinning Hats, Kirsten Owen for Yohji Yamamoto, 1987

I have always loved when science is a driving force behind art. This image of the beautiful Kirsten Owen shot in 1988 wearing a huge sun hat by Yohji Yamamoto ( so big that if you bought one from the shop, the box was so big it would not fit into a taxi or domestic car! ) I was in love with the work of photographer Harold Edgerton who worked in the USA in the 1930s. He pioneered the use of strobe flashes and is the man best known for his frozen bullet and apple picture. However, he also used stroboscopic photography, where quickly repeated flashes would show every step of an action, swinging a golf club, a ballerina pirouetting, ( look at the work of Gjon Mili! ) etc all on the same frame. Scientific photography, whether it is X-ray photography, or images from an electron scanning microscope, has fuelled my work as it shows the world in ways we don’t see it - this has always been my raison d’être for making images. - Nick Knight

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)
“A Young Girl Reading” (1776)
Oil on canvas
Located in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, United States

The name of the sitter is unknown, though it could be Fragonard’s daughter who frequently worked as a model for him. X-ray photography has revealed that the canvas originally featured a different head looking towards the viewer, which Fragonard painted over. It is one in a series of quickly executed paintings by Fragonard featuring young girls, known as “figures de fantaisie.”


The above images are spectacular representations of what Chandra X-Ray Telescope has brought to the astronomy table. The earth’s atmosphere filters out a great majority of x-rays, therefore, by having a telescope in orbit outside of the atmosphere, it gives astronomers a new perspective on the makeup of various celestial bodies. As seen in these images, high energy particles often emit high levels of x-rays which are typically invisible to us if we simply take a picture in the visible spectrum. Having an x-ray observatory like Chandra opens a brand new (beautiful) window to the universe.