Arie van’t Riet‘s beautiful x-ray photographs gracefully combine the outer visible surface and the inner invisible structure of the natural world in images that give new life to the definition of ‘radiant beauty’.
A medical physicist, Arie van’t Riet has turned into an artist almost by chance, when a friend asked him to take an x-ray picture of a painting. On that occasion he became interested in the creative possibilities that x-ray technology opened up by means of exploiting the different densities and degrees of light absorption of the materials it touches. Made of thin petals and leaves, a bouquet of flowers became Arie van’t Riet‘s first ‘artistic’ experiment. After taking the x-ray picture of a bunch of tulips, he digitalized the silver-bromate analog film, then inverted the gray scale and eventually selected some areas to be coloured. The resulting image perfectly restitutes the impalpable lightness but also the vivid strength that flowers have. With this new and exciting possibility to explore nature at hand, Arie van’t Riet started including insects and animals, elegantly composing flora and fauna while playing around with the different x-ray intensities required in order to capture thin and thick tissues in one image. The Dutch scientist/artist only uses dead animals (which he gathers when the sad event has already taken place) for his x-ray photographs, as he does not want to expose living creatures to the danger of x-ray exposure. Van’t Riet defines his pictures as bioramas where the natural elements variously assembled literally radiate the sheer splendor contained even in the tiniest natural element. The artistic path embraced by Arie van’t Riet bears witness of the fact that to be an artist is first and foremost a matter of creative disposition, enabling one to look at the world in an open, curious and actively responsive way, no matter what expressive tools are chosen. Playing around with the technology he better knew, Arie van’t Riet discovered that he could fix in a single image both the outer surface (that we see in colour when touched with visible light) and the inner structure (only showed in grey scale by invisible x-rays) of nature. Looking at Arie van’t Riet photographs is like ideally wearing a pair of x-ray glasses that make us participate to the wholesomeness of the natural world.
Invited by TEDx in 2013 to hold a lecture, in this video Arie van’t Riet explains how he discovered the expressive potentialities of x-ray technology:
To explore more of Arie van’t Riet‘s bioramas, please visit his website here.
Images courtesy of Arie van’t Riet.
(via e MORFES)