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Photos Made With Radiation From Vintage Dishes Will Blow Your Mind


Have you ever wondered what radiation looks like? Rather than some dull explanation found in a textbook or on Wikipedia, this artist decided to show us radiation as a nice pool of purple.

How does he do it, you may ask? With old, vintage dishes that were coated in uranium-oxide (yikes!). But, not to worry, Fiestaware hasn’t coated their dishes in this substance in years, and these beautiful images will have you feeling calm and serene.

Found Art

The artist at hand, Peter Shellenberger, created his series titled Radiation from scavenging for old Fiestaware dishware at random flea markets and garage sales.

Peter Shellenberger

What Shellenberger does next to produce these photos is simply amazing.

Serene Shadows

He places the Fiestaware dishes in a light-tight box below a frame of Ektachrome color film.

Peter Shellenberger

Between the film are small objects, which over time blocks the radiation from entering the frame and leaves its beautiful shadow behind.

A Virtue Of Patience

But, the work isn’t completely done. Most of Shellenberger’s prints take between one and four months of radioactive baking in order to yield the image he desires. Through a lot of experimentation, the artist has discovered the length of exposure, object, and the type of film can all produce different and beautiful results.

Peter Shellenberger

In the above photo, titled Spring, Shellenberger captured the mainspring from a clock. This concept was created as a sort of metaphor about people’s fear of radiation and The Doomsday Clock. “The clock’s function and time relate to the Doomsday Clock and the beginning of our nuclear time,” Shellenberger said. “Over the 45-day exposure, I would tap the box that the spring was in to create movement as it unfurled.”

And just to be safe, Shellenberger took a break from creating art from radioactive materials. After all, they are still dangerous (yet beautiful).

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