Jan 13 2012: Four Photographs on the Themes of Artificial Sunlight and The Healing Power of X-Rays (from Marvels of Modern Science, c.1930s)

These four images are ostensiby about illustrating the processes of the things they depict, that is, the use of ‘sun lamps’ and x-rays to promote health and diagnose illness, but in truth there’s something odd about them: the circle of children basking in the alien glow of heat-lamps has the look of a still from some unknown cult sci-fi film of the 1950s, while the x-ray photographs of one hand slipping a wedding or engagement ring onto the finger of another is wonderfully Freudian in its merging of implied sex and death. I suppose if nothing else, images like these demonstrate how the aesthetic of science, with its pretended disdain for theatricality and its claim to show factual information only, is so often confounded by those engaged in creating it.

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One Response to “Jan 13 2012: Four Photographs on the Themes of Artificial Sunlight and The Healing Power of X-Rays (from Marvels of Modern Science, c.1930s)”
  1. George Cook says:

    I remember taking part in a process similar to the picture showing children holding hands. I was aged between 4 and 6. Could anyone give greater details or description of what is taking place. I was participating in this because I had childhood asthma.My treatment took place around the end of the 1940’s. We were seated and we did not hold hands but the picture looks eerily reminiscent of the procedure I went through.

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