Not many photographers need a linear accelerator. But Nick Veasey isn’t your average shutterbug. Instead of tweaking f-stops and light boxes, he fine-tunes the speed and frequency of energy pulses emitted by a Russian-made tabletop particle turbocharger. That’s because Veasey doesn’t work with traditional cameras and film — he works with x-rays.
The 54-year-old Englishman estimates that over the past decade or so he’s x-rayed more than 4,000 objects: flowers, football players, alarm clocks, tractors, even a 777. “I’m interested in how things work, and x-rays show what’s happening under the surface, “he says. “Plus, they look cool.” To get his pictures, Veasey uses industrial x-ray machines typically employed in art restoration (to examine oil paintings), electronics manufacturing (to inspect circuit boards), and the military (to check tanks for stress fractures).
“Most of the images that bombard us all are aspirational. I want to be sexy, cool, thin, younger…My work is real. X-Ray is an honest process. It shows things for what they are, what they are made of. I love that. It balances all that glossy, superficial bollocks. I’m real and straightforward. And so is my work. I’m not that interested in using x-ray to shock, as too much art tries hard to bludgeon a message home. Shock and gore is easy with x-ray. I like to create intrigue and beauty.”