Inside story: the art of the X-ray

  • @timwalker

Nick Veasey acquired his X-ray vision 15 years ago, while photographing a can of Pepsi for a TV stunt. "Pepsi was running a promotion in which one ring pull had a magic number on it worth £100,000," he explains, "so The Big Breakfast asked me to X-ray a can. At the same time, I X-rayed other things, and got bitten by the bug."

Formerly an advertising photographer, Veasey, now 46, has just published a book of his X-ray photography, which blurs the lines between art and science with astonishing results. Among the subjects to pass through his lead-lined studio, in Maidenhead, are bats, buses, even a band – his best-known image is the X-ray shot of Supergrass on the cover of their self-titled album of 1999.

To develop an X-ray image on film, the negative must be the same size as the object. Finding film stock the size of an airliner is an expensive business, as Veasey discovered – his photo of a hangar cost hundreds of thousands to produce. He also negotiated with the MoD to use an X-ray machine normally employed to see through tanks in order to X-ray a JCB. The figures in his photographs are all the same human skeleton, which he manipulates and reuses. His favourite subject? "You can't beat nature. It creates the most beautiful and surprising images."

'X-Ray' by Nick Veasey is published by Goodman Books, £25