bioephemera

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White Plains Hospital Bus Wrap (detail)
Nick Veasey

Self-labeled “X-Ray Photographer” Nick Veasey created this life-size bus wrap by running a bus through a million-dollar device used to screen vehicles at border checkpoints, then superimposing individual radiographs of a single corpse posed in various attitudes. (If you look closely, you’ll see that the passengers are morphologically identical – not as a bus full of men, women, and children of various ages should appear.) Veasey then patched the whole image together in Photoshop.

Originally deployed in New York, the bus wrap was withdrawn for unspecified safety reasons. Given drivers’ proclivity to gawk, I won’t question the potential traffic hazard posed by this piece of moving art. There’s also the potential hazard to any “X-Ray Photographer” (and his subjects) created by radiation exposure; Veasey limits himself to only three or four x-rays per living human subject (that’s why he used a corpse for the bus image) and wears a lead apron and radiation badge while working. He says, “as long as you’re careful, it’s safe. And there are some advantages to working with radiation. For example, art directors don’t want to stand next to you when you’re taking the shot. I can’t think why.” (source: interview by Tim Rich, Print magazine).

As Veasey tells it, his artistic career started with another vehicle – and an ineffectual plan to scam Pepsi:

My girlfriend’s father used to be a lorry driver,” explains Nick with a
mischievous smile. “At one time he drove a lorry for a couple of days which
contained thousands of cans of Pepsi, one of which had a ring-pull prize
worth £100,000.

“I thought I’d try a scam. I decided to hire an x-ray machine from a local
hospital to find the winning can. I never did find it, but it sparked off the
ideas for the career I have today.” (Professional Photographer interview)

Now, Veasey’s work appears everywhere – in ads (Louis Vuitton, Adidas), product packaging (Adobe Photoshop CS2), print media, even on the exterior of a United Airlines hangar at Boston’s Logan airport (have you seen this? I haven’t):

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Veasey released a book/portfolio, X-Ray, last year.

Thanks to TomJoe for the heads up on this one. . . !

Comments

  1. #1 Anon
    May 27, 2008

    I did see the Logan Hanger one! Didn’t know what it was until I read your post, though.

  2. #2 John Ohab
    May 28, 2008

    Alternatively, Mr. Veasey could have referenced the movie, Total Recall, from which he essentially lifted this idea.

  3. #3 Geoffrey Alexander
    May 29, 2008

    @ John O

    If you were familiar with the scope of his career (or the length of it) you would know that’s really not true (although you state it as a fact, not a conjecture). How do you know Verhooven wasn’t inspired by Veasey?

  4. #4 TomJoe
    May 29, 2008

    You’re welcome! 🙂

  5. #5 John Ohab
    June 9, 2008

    Geoffrey, I challenge you to find anything in our culture that doesn’t derive directly from Total Recall. I’ll check back for the result of your quest. Best of luck!

  6. #6 hgvlgvtraining
    October 19, 2009

    What a shame this type of security can’t be perfected. It would solve a lot of our problems.

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