Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

X-ray art

Byung Kook Kwak
Chung-Ang University Hospital, Seoul, Korea


A radiologist uses medical imaging instruments to peer inside the human body in the search of abnormality, but the product of medical imaging, the x-ray, is also a form of photography. Like light, x-rays inherently sensitize a film or plate. As the x-ray penetrates an object, it transfers the image of the object to the film or plate with continued exposure. “X-ray art” is regarded as genre within the fields of art and photography. As is typical of photography, the x-ray is presented as black and white depending on the degree of penetration of x-ray; unlike general photography, internal structures can also be seen.

I have chosen the darkness of the sky or the river as a backdrop to the x-ray images displayed here. Because of their subtle darkness, these backgrounds highlight black and white images most effectively. Nowadays we can see sun and moon, but not stars in almost all cities. I hope these x-ray images will reawaken thoughts of forgotten dreams.


Constellation of a bicycle constellation of binoculars

Constellation of a bicycle. X-ray image of a bicycle soars in the sky
above the Hangang River bridge, expressing a desire to travel abroad.

Constellation of binoculars. X-ray image of binoculars hovers in the sky
with a crescent moon, expressing a desire to see off into the distance.

Constellation of a camera Shells in the river

Constellation of a camera. X-ray image of a camera sharing the sky
with a crescent moon at sunset. The empty highway calls the lone runner
wishing to bask in the scenery.

Shells in the river. X-ray images of a computer mouse float
in the water of Hangang River.



BYUNG KOOK KWAK, MD, is a professor in the department of radiology at Chung-Ang University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. He established an X-ray imaging resource center with radiologic doctors and technicians of Chung-Ang University Hospital in 2005. He and his team exhibited their artwork in the hospital gallery in 2006 and 2011.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Winter 2013 – Volume 5, Issue 1
Winter 2013  |  Sections  |  Gallery

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