HUGH TURVEY / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED GLOBALLY COPYRIGHT © 1994-
X-ray Artist Hugh Turvey
“Hugh Turvey, contemporary pioneer of the x-ray art genre over 30 years, has witnessed first-hand the advances of imaging and is uniquely positioned between the aesthetic photographic and radiographic worlds. His work has cultural, art historical and photographic reference points which bridge the divide between science and art. His work has been used extensively in a plethora of applications and artistic collaborations.” Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director General of the Royal Photographic Society, UK.
In 2009 Hugh was appointed the first X-ray Artist in Residence for The British Institute of Radiology since its inauguration in 1924 and Royal Charter granted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1958. The Residency was offered to Hugh following a solo public exhibition at the OXO Gallery London titled: 'X-perimentalist' which showcased 40 x-ray artworks to over 8000 visitors from all over the world. As Artist in Residence, Hugh will continue to promote the x-ray aesthetic through exhibitions, workshops, talks, BIR partnerships and fulfilling the Royal Charter. In 2014 Hugh was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellowship, in recognition of his innovative imaging work and its role to promote public scientific engagement. Hugh also became Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2016 after achievements in the management of public sector projects and volunteering expertise for the benefit of the community.
High Turvey is an artist with an international reputation. His Xogram work is held in public and private collections throughout the world. Bridging the gap between art and science, graphic design and pure photography, it has been utilised in a myriad applications, including, commercially, for marketing and advertising, in TV and film and by architects and interior designers. Along with developing a body of work for the Science Photo Library, his Xogram work has also been widely featured in newspaper articles and magazines around the world.
Among his commercial projects, he has made six award-winning TV adverts, using ground breaking Motion X-Ray. For the past three years he has been working with Waitrose UK on celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s ranges and has had images commissioned by L’Oreal, Paris.
Hugh’s Xogram work has starred in 2011 French feature film Et Soudain, Tout Le Monde Me Manque and his Flora xograms were selected as a key motif to run throughout the newly refurbished Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg.
Currently he is artistically collaborating with Haute Couture designer Iris Van Herpen Netherlands, Dita Frames Ireland, LYST UK, Canary Wharf Group UK and the Royal Horticultural Society UK and Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) Madrid.
I am a multidisciplinarian, experimentalist and technologist. Since I started working with x-ray in the late 1990’s, I am constantly amazed at the speed of technological development. The wave of technology is creating new artforms and expression. My x-ray passion was ignited after a designer asked me for a broken bone image for an music album cover. At the time, I was doing a 4 year apprenticeship with iconic music photographer Gered Mankowitz and took a walk from his London studio to the local hospital and met the head of radiography to seek his advice. The radiographers were using this huge 17x14 inch black and white film to capture images with x-rays and this was a revelation and I fell in love immediately!
Density defines my work. Very big or very small objects challenge the technology and physics.
Commercially we have been asked to x-ray a huge size range of subjects over the years.
One of my personal favourite images it titled ‘Femme Fatale’ . It is a colored x-ray image of a woman’s foot in a stiletto shoe. It is one of my first images, transparent, self-explanatory and has become an iconic image inadvertently possibly made more unique by radiation law amendments. It also just happens to be my wife and a fitting portrait of my sole mate…pun intended.
My most challenging project to date, was creating synchronised x-ray and ‘visible light’ rotating objects for an educational ebook and iPad app called ‘X is for X-ray’ launched at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago. This had never been done and the technology didn’t really exist. So with a LOT of patience and melding of techniques, we were able to introduce kids to science in a very easily digested format, with a ‘swipe’ from visible light to x-ray in 360 degrees.
I love traditional photographic technique that produce images without a camera. By placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material and exposing it to light, a silhouette of the object is created on the material. It is a captured shadow of the object. These are called photograms and coincidentally were one of the first photographic imaging techniques used by William Fox Talbot, who called them photogenic drawings. Now, since the discovery of x-ray by Röentgen, it is possible to create x-ray photograms (e.g. skiagrams, Röntgenograms, shadowgraphs, radiographs). I wanted to continue this classification naming heritage and created the term Xogram (referencing ‘X’ for ‘unknown’, the Greek: out: έξω/éxo̱ and drawing: γραμμα/gramma).
There is a comic fantasy of wearing x-ray spectacles that give the viewer special powers to see through solid objects and reveal something that was hidden. This concept of revealing truth, is one of the simplest structures in storytelling and for me brilliantly exemplified in the 1999 film ‘The Matrix’ when Neo (Keanu Reeves) has his epiphany, perceives his true environment and the Matrix is revealed to him. it is a glorious moment of self-realisation giving birth to strength, understanding and purpose. I probably take this example too literally but deeply understanding the world around you is empowering. Humans are an integral part of the fabric of the world and we destructively stretch and re-weave the worlds fabric to suit our requirement. X-ray images allow us to see behind the scenes and understand the fragility and delicacy of the world around us.
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