In a series called "History's Shadow," photographer David Maisel takes pictures of the x-rays used by art conservators. The art objects are all in the collections of the Getty Museum and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
"The x-ray," Maisel writes, "has historically been used for the structural examination of art and artifacts much as physicians examine bones and internal organs; it reveals losses, replacements, methods of construction, and internal trauma that may not be visible to the naked eye." He aims to do something different with these photographs; The goal, he explains, is to express the "shape-shifting nature of time itself, and the continuous presence of the past contained within us."
Many of the photographs in the series are on view right here in Boston, at the Ellen Miller Gallery on Newbury St. And you can see more of Maisel's photography, including some extraordinary landscape photographs, at his website.
Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His last article for Ideas was about choosing Congress by lottery.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
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Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.