Artist Nick Veasey has been messing around with x-rays ever since he was hired to x-ray a cola can for a TV show in England, when he was a relatively unknown still photographer.  He took the opportunity to also shoot his shoe, and was so intrigued with the process he eventually purchased a surplus x-ray machine, and built a bunker inside a warehouse with 30″ thick walls and a 2300lb lead door to keep himself safe.  While medical x-ray stations have minimal beams directed at very specific, small areas, shooting much larger objects, like guns, motorcycles and even a Boeing 777 jet, meant hospital-style shielding was out of the question.  To be clear, Veasey doesn’t shoot a whole motorcycle in one go – he shoots it section by section, then has helpers Photoshop the pieces together into a whole.    His most recent project, as reported in yesterday, was a series of vintage motorcycles, borrowed from a local club.  He also installed a handy skeleton prop on a few of the bikes, and later shot the clothing, which was all blended later.  I’ve been a fan of his work for years, as who isn’t fascinated by x-rays?

Mystery rider on a ’41 Matchless G3L 350cc military bike [Nick Veasey]
Here’s Veasey’s artist statement from his website: “We live in a world obsessed with image. What we look like, what our clothes look like, houses, cars… I like to counter this obsession with superficial appearance by using x-rays to strip back the layers and show what it is like under the surface. Often the integral beauty adds intrigue to the familiar. 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.

1915 Indian Model G 682cc ‘Little Twin’. [Nick Veasey]
This society of ours, consumed as it is by image, is also becoming increasingly controlled by security and surveillance. Take a flight, or go into a high profile courtroom and your belongings will be x-rayed. The post arriving in corporations and government departments has often been x-rayed. Security cameras track our every move. Mobile phone receptions place us at any given time. Information is key to the fight against whatever we are meant to be fighting against. To create art with equipment and technology designed to help big brother delve deeper, to use some of that fancy complicated gadgetry that helps remove the freedom and individuality in our lives, to use that apparatus to create beauty brings a smile to my face.

1928 Ariel Model E. [Nick Veasey]
To mix my metaphors, 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.”

A close-up of the 1914 Indian engine, with pistons, connecting rods, and timing gears clearly visible.[Nick Veasey]
Nick doesn’t just do motorcycles…some of his work explores subcultures with a wry sense of humor…[Nick Veasey]
Harley Davidson Sportster with mystery rider. [Nick Veasey]
1914 Douglas Model A 3.5hp flat twin, 500cc. [Nick Veasey]
Nick Veasey developing one of his x-rays in his studio. [Nick Veasey]

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