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X-ray Gun Portraits May Subvert Artist’s Intent

October 23, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Musculoskeletal Radiology
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In order to deglamorize guns, British artist Nick Veasey has created X-ray portraits of some of history’s most iconic weapons, thus making them look … scary and beautiful.

Something’s not quite working here.

We mentioned Veasey a couple of years ago. He uses powerful industrial X-ray equipment to create intriguing portraits of everything from a flower to an entire twin-engine jet aircraft in its hangar. He told the British Daily Mirror newspaper that for the gun series, he chose weapons made famous in movies:

Hopefully, people will actually look at how they work and think, ‘If I pick it up and pull the trigger, bullets come out of it,’ rather than, ‘If I pick it up, I’m going to be like Rambo or a character from Call of Duty.

Trouble is, his portrait of, for example, the M60 machine gun that Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo character uses in the movie First Blood looks pretty darn glamorous. As Veasey himself told the Mirror, the weapons are “beautiful things to behold, but scary in the implications of what they can do.”

Other guns in the series include the .44 Magnum pistol that plays a big part in the Dirty Harry films, a Wogdon flintlock dueling pistol used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and the Walther PPK pistol featured in several James Bond films.

Veasey got the weapons from movie-industry suppliers. He said they’re not necessarily the guns actually used in the films, but at least are the correct models. They arrived at his studio in an armored van, even though they’ve been modified so they’re not capable of firing real bullets. Veasey digitally retouched the images to virtually restore the guns to operating condition.

“We’re trying to make them look like scientific specimens, almost like a slab on the morgue,” he said.

In that, we’re not sure he succeeded.

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