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Nature from the inside out — beautiful X-ray images show the hidden complexity of the natural world

Radiation physicist Arie van’t Riet never thought he’d be an artist. But after a colleague asked him to X-ray a painting, Arie saw a world of possibilities for X-ray imaging outside the hospital. He began to X-ray all sorts of atypical subjects — flowers, plants, bugs, snails, lizards — seduced by the challenge of recreating natural scenes.

In a fascinating talk at TEDxGroningen, Arie explains his journey from physicist to artist, and shares the process behind his beautiful, sometimes-tricky art. Says Arie, “I try to combine the visible world, with color and surface, with the X-ray world — the inner.”

All photos copyright Arie van’t Riet. To see more of Arie’s work, visit his website.

Poppies will always look like papercraft to me, whether or not they’re being bombarded with radiation. —MN