X-rayted pinup

By Phil Plait | June 21, 2010 12:00 pm

What’s more naked than naked?

This:

eizo-february-small-11244

That picture is one of a dozen making up an unusual — to say the least! — pinup calendar. It was put together for EIZO, a monitor manufacturer; their equipment is used to display high-resolution medical displays… like radiographs. So it’s clever, and apropos.

I had to laugh when I saw them. I’m more of a WWII-style pinup kinda guy, but these are really funny. But as I looked at them more, I started to think more deeply about them.

First, I’m not overly concerned with discussing any potential sexism involved with these images; if you think calendars are sexist this won’t add to the fire or stanch any of those feelings. So either you think they’re sexist or you don’t; let’s agree to that and move on to a more interesting aspect of them.

Are they racy?

And I don’t mean sexy, I mean racy. Sexy is one thing, but racy implies a bit of a wink-wink, a little bit of naughtiness. If you find these sexy, that’s your business, and I have no bone to pick with you.

eizo_skullBut seriously, would someone consider these to be racy pictures? I can think of arguments for and against. In many of the pictures, you can see a hint of flesh, and in many cases those particular body parts are considered to be, um, secondary sexual characteristics — and as is well known by the lingerie industry, hinting at skin can be more interesting than simply exposing it. In a lot of the pictures the model is posed provocatively. In most of them she’s wearing some killer stilettos, which is more of a pinup thing than a medical imaging thing.

On the other hand, these are freaking X-rays.

It’s funny how these things work. There are quite a few triggers that indicate sexuality to a man, including shape — the right curve in the right place. These pictures have that, but only kinda sorta. If it weren’t for the shoes and the poses, in most of these pictures you’d be hard-pressed to know if it were a man or a woman modeling!

And I’ll admit to hesitating before posting a picture from the calendar. I wanted to choose one that was relatively work-safe, and again the presence of the shoes or the pose used in some of them seemed inappropriate, so I chose what I thought was the least likely to invoke those triggers (and my wife agreed). How bizarre! If it were just a skeleton there would be no problem. If it were just the shoes sitting on a table, no problem. But the barest whisper of a breast or a behind together with the footwear and the position does, in my opinion, make these pictures bizarrely racy.

Humans have all sorts of complicated things going on in their brains. I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks about these pictures as well. I know that some people will rail about the sexism, others about the nature of pinups, and so on. But what do you think about the pictures themselves?

eizo_heelsAnd yikes. Check out what stilettos do to your metatarsophalangeal joint between the metatarsal and proximal phalangeal bones! Perhaps one outcome of these pictures is that the next time I see a woman wearing 4 inch heels, this’ll be what I think of.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor
MORE ABOUT: Eizo, pinup, sexism, X-ray

Comments (114)

  1. astronomer24

    The skull throws me off/disturbs me. If the other curvy outlines weren’t there I would have a hell of a time figuring out if it were a man or woman were the heels. Or maybe it is the lack of any hair on the head I dunno, they all sort of freak me out.

  2. And just what are those shoes made of to show so brightly in the X-rays?

  3. Steve

    I would have to see more…

  4. Chris

    How much radiation was she subjected to for these images?

  5. *whistles* Look at the femur on her! And her ulna’s quite… um, no honey… I wasn’t looking at other women’s bones. Not at all.

  6. Kaptain K

    You asked for thoughts. My thoughts were (are) …

    KEWL!!!

  7. Adam English

    Well, you can see her breasts so you know it’s a female. I agree with #3, how much radiation did she get? Probably enough to hit her lifetime x-ray limit.

  8. Tony

    I haven’t looked at all of the images, but I don’t think they are actual radiographic images. They may partially be composited images of actually x-rays, but I would say that they are heavily digitally airbrushed at the bare (no pun intended) minimum to completely rendered by an artist. As a medical illustrator I have looked at quite a few x-rays and they never look like that. For one thing there is no “depth of field” in an x-ray film, basically you are taking an image at a single depth with everything else being “out of focus”.

    I will have to see what I can dig up on these or I will as around in the medical illustration community to see if any of my peers worked on these.

    They are cool none the less.

  9. I “discovered” these to the Stumble!. And I posted them as “work safe” after a long consideration. What pushed me into it was the fact that it was unlikely to trigger any nanny alarms. I didn’t find them racy. I’m a female, and I posted them as great studies for art students who need to know anatomy.

    After reading Phil’s post, I wonder if I was wrong – and I should have marked them as “unsafe” for work. I suppose so.

  10. JJ

    On ‘how much radiation’ – I’m guessing less than a x-ray operator gets in a lifetime working.

    And less than it used to be – x-rays can be measured using CCDs now instead of imprinting on film, requiring less exposure.

  11. Nikki B

    You can tell from the slight hint that she’s holding her shoulders back, emphasizing her breasts, making that a VERY sexy X-ray.

    I don’t necessarily think it’s racy. I think I could get away with having that at work, even though looking at that X-ray gets my blood rushing. I like looking at that and imagining what she might look like, making it BETTER than seeing the full image of the woman. Is she butch, is she feminine? Well, it’s up to me to fill those details in.

  12. DW

    “So either you think they’re sexist or you don’t; let’s agree to that and move on to a more interesting aspect of them.”

    That is the only sentence, and issue, I have a problem with. Had you said “different” as opposed to “more interesting”, there would be no problem for me. If sexism was “more interesting” to a man, would it go away? And to think that half the population gets treated this way. I don’t get to choose whether or not I can discuss something “more interesting” as this is MY daily reality.

    LOVE shots of skeletons. Don’t like the porn side, and this is skeleton porn. If it wasn’t, there’d be no need for the shoes.

  13. Charlie Young

    From a purely medical standpoint, there are many times having the soft tissue imaged properly gives you reference points necessary for an adequate diagnosis. Being able to get that kind of soft tissue detail is actually one of the main selling points the equipment manufacturers try to get across. I’m speaking as a dentist in that lateral skull films with good soft tissue detail allow us to perform skeletal analysis for orthodontic treatment.

  14. Asp

    These are racy if you’re into skeleton porn.

    (And sexist, yes. Also, sad. Isn’t it sad that you can strip women’s bodies of almost all recognizable female features and still succeed in objectifying them?)

  15. Pornography masquerading as a combination of science and art. Disgusting and sinful.

  16. m5

    That’s not the sort of bone inside a woman I find arousing to think about.

  17. . . . I have no bone to pick with you.

    ::slaps forehead:: Groan!

  18. Stacy L Mason

    I recall reading something on Nick Veasey’s x-ray photography in an issue of Discover not too long ago. One of the pictures was of a guy in football gear. The article said the football player was actually a posed corpse.

    If the images aren’t some kind of simulated x-ray the woman in question may have been dead to begin with.

    Mmm…skeleton fetish necroporn. (shudders, with revulsion)

  19. Charlie Young

    I would also assume that adequate soft tissue imaging is necessary for accurate mammograms, although those seem to be falling from favor due to accuracy issues.

  20. Pi-needles

    I’ve heard models are going for the skeletal look these days but that’s ridiculous! ;-)

    And when people say “I’d like to jump her bones!” I’m not sure that’s exactly what they have in mind! ;-)

    To answer your question BA : Not racy but more creepy & weird & oddly intriguing in a curious “wow that *is* a different image” way.

  21. KnowsBetterThanThat

    I understand this writer’s contemplation of the images as an intellectual exercise, but I have to I agree with #10 Ultraholland. It’s just another level of exploitation.

    Here’s EIZO’s own words (website linked in article): “Whereas craftsmen are showered with pin-up-calendars at the end of every year, this kind of present is less popular among medics. EIZO breaks this taboo. This pin-up calendar shows absolutely every detail.”

  22. jemand

    I think it’s the connection between beauty and life and reproductive type triggers (sex at least) directly contrasted with MORTALITY triggers, i.e., skull and skeleton that makes these images extremely disturbing to me.

    I’d tend to think they were more a commentary on the human condition rather than a serious attempt to be “pin-up” pictures.

    But maybe I’m over thinking this.

  23. Szwagier

    Taking supermodel anorexia to the extreme.

  24. Allen

    @Tony 7:

    I’m starting to think these are faked, just by looking at the left foot in the top picture. Those wispy things look like her toes, but her bones are sticking out of her foot!

    Either way, I think it’s a pretty clever marketing gimmick, and I have to give props to whoever thought it up.

  25. Pi-needles

    Or put it this way:

    If I saw her turn up looking just like that in my bedroom at night I’d be terrified not aroused!

    A computer animated skeleton lady like that would be a good monster effect in a horror film.

    @17. Szwagier Says:

    Taking supermodel anorexia to the extreme.

    I don’t find too thin and bony attractive personally anyhow. If someone looks anorexic or even just atypically thin, its actually a bit of a turn off personally – although I know ppls tastes differ.

  26. And they say beauty is only skin deep.

  27. Well, science IS sexy!

  28. Ubi Dubium

    It’s clever, but I think these are computer-generated, not real x-rays. The picture is just too sharp, her outlines are just too clear. Maybe they used motion capture on a real model to get the poses right, but I think what we have here is a talented programmer.

  29. Aleksandar Kuktin

    Relax, guys. These are all computer generated images.

    But don’t take my word for it, look at the evidence:
    1. The toe bones on the left foot, as mentioned by Allen. They are COMPLETELY out of their respective toes.
    2. The tissue behind the right nipple. Although it may be “individual variation”, that tissue should be hiperdensic (AKA white), not hipodensic as it is (AKA black). This is becouse breasts are (from a radiologists perspective) mostly fat, and fat absorbs less X-rays than water-rich tissue.
    3. The heart does not look like that under an X-ray. In here, you can see “her” auriculae, and in a real X-ray you won’t see those.
    4. On some other images from this series, there are other tell-tale problems with “her” internal organs. In that case, her intestines were hiperdensic (white), and could be easily picked out from the “underlying” tissue. Real guts are filled with pockets of gas (black). ESPECIALY the stomach. You don’t see that air in “her” stomach in any of these pictures.

    Also, her buttocks should have more fat on them. ;)

  30. DW (#12): I wrestled with the word “interesting” for that very reason, in fact. I tried different phrasing, and then decided that while the sexism angle may be important in general, it’s not relevant to the discussion I wanted to have, and that it isn’t as interesting — for the actual definition of “interesting”. Having been involved in about a thousand discussions on what’s sexist and what isn’t, the discussion – especially online — tends to be tedious. It’s not less important, it’s just that the same points are wearily gone over, with no real new ground getting covered. And then loud voices start, and the yelling, and the insults… so in this case, I thought the word I used was correct. Perhaps it invokes a response I didn’t want, but in technical terms it’s the word I wanted.

  31. This is not a real X-ray. To wit: the model’s shoes register as white (i.e. high absorption material). But the shoes are mostly made of leather (i.e. animal skin). But at the same time, the model’s skin (obviously) registers as transparent. So it’s a fake right there. (Unless we allow for lead shoes with lead straps.)

    OTOH a certain fashion photographer actually did an X-ray of a female model in high heels. Click my name to see the image (and the difference).

    And, finally: the idea (X-ray porn) was first given by a sci-fi writer Stanislaw Lem in his book “Imaginary Magnitude” from 1973. The book is a collection of reviews of non-existent books, and one of the works reviewed is (you guessed it) an album of artistic X-ray images.

  32. BJN

    Look at Nick Veasey’s website for large format x-ray photography. Click on “About”, then “Process”. Yes, it’s possible to do large format x-ray photography. However, if you look at his gallery you’ll see a photo entitled “Gunman”. While this image may start with an x-ray, I very much doubt that pinstripes show up. And if the suit did have lead threads, then you’d wouldn’t just see stripes in front of the suit. I think Veasey works with x-ray images but the end results are often composite illustrations.

    I don’t think Veasey shot the Eizo campaign photos and I think it’s more likely that these were done via GGI modeling rather than actually using x-rays composited with a ghosted layer of visible light nudies.

  33. Koro Burn

    At best, I’d say these are all digitally touched up; at worst, completely computer generated. The circumstantial proof is in the credits:

    > Illustrator/CGI: Carsten Mainz

    Just a guess though…not sure why you’d need a CGI artist for a calendar full of true X-Ray images though.

    Koro

  34. Matt T

    What, no puns about her bone structure?

    I don’t know if racy is the word. I don’t know what word is. But it is interesting that the setup, of course, puts us in mind of a certain kind of image, then the *lack* of information prompts us to fill in the blanks. I wonder if it’s the same basic mental process as pareidolia (sp?).

    @Aleksandar (29)
    True, but that’s true of *all* models, isn’t it? ;)

  35. Markle

    When I see a woman in high heels, I’m reminded of my mother’s and mother-in-law’s corrective foot surgery and the pain that led them to the surgery and the pain during the recovery. I see corns and hammer toes. It’s amazing that women will pay out the nose sometimes hundreds of dollars a pop for what amounts to modern-day Chinese foot binding.
    Wiki: Foot binding
    My niece, a cum laude bioscience graduate, looks at me and says: But they’re pretty!
    Scarier, the M-i-L had what could be termed as withdrawals after being told she couldn’t wear them anymore. Her new fix, fancy flats.

    More on topic: The x-rays aren’t that racy.

  36. Jamey

    @Kris – said shoes could easily have had a metallic paint applied that would be the blocking material here. Not every shoe is of identical construction, after all. For that matter, it could be a plastic with enough heavy-metal coloring dye in it to do the blocking.

    If the company is using these to sell to real doctors, then they’re much better off using real photos from their equipment, than CGI fakes, as doctors are more likely to recognize flaws from their familiarity with the subject. Same reason a stage magician or psychic hates to see James Randi in the audience.

  37. John Paradox

    C’mon, Phil.. this is nothing less than an ad for Rontgen’s Secret

    J/P=?

  38. There are quite a few triggers that indicate sexuality to a man, including shape — the right curve in the right place. These pictures have that, but only kinda sorta.

    Meh. Not the right shapes. Not the right curves.

    But then my triggers are probably quite a bit different from the majority of other males. :P

    BTW, does that lady in the first picture have the face of Jeebus beneath her sternum? “I feel the lawd inside!”

  39. Adam English

    Peopel are getting a bit personal about a chick’s skeleton…I’m a little bewildered why Phil had to be so politically correct about his post. Yea she’s a model…so? Did pin-up calenders become illegal recently? Has sexual appeal not been a staple of our culture since…ever? Kinda confused how that equates to sexism, I guess I’m sexist if I find the female form attractive. Maybe it’s because I’m 21 and naive, I’ll never know.

    Phil I thought that was a great twist on how we look at things. If anything it made me stop and think about everything that lies underneath a person, kinda brings the “we are all the same on the inside” quote to the forefront of the mind.

  40. olderwithmoreinsurance

    I love the term “skeleton porn”. The people who argue that these aren’t “real” x-rays make many good points that I’ve yet to see refuted here. “Racy” has to overlap with “titillating”, and you have to be a special kind of pervert to find these titillating. I don’t find these even particularly interesting, much less racy.
    @#38, I was wondering if anyone else saw that!

  41. Mark Heil

    #12 There’s a good chance that there are saline implants causing the darkened areas in the “chestal” area.

  42. What does it for me is that impish, slightly naughty look in the eye sockets. ROWR!

  43. Maldoror

    The shapes are very suggestive, which makes a lovely contrast with the more traditional perception of skeletons. I can see why people find this disturbing. I do not see why it should be deemed sinful, though.

    Personally, I think it is a shame that they are all females. Surely, here was an opportunity to show a hint of teabag? Otherwise a fine celebration of rule 34.

  44. DW

    @ Phil. I appreciate your explanation but the phrasing there is no less problematic for me. I will refrain from the tedious discussion but I am no less disappointed.

  45. Strangely, this doesn’t bother me or strike me as sexist the same way that it did when I received an optics catalog with a woman in a miniskirt sitting among the optics bench equipment. I think that part of it is just that it isn’t obviously a sexualized woman to me, it’s a skeleton, and part of it is that the woman here is a scientific subject.

  46. Adam English

    They are all female because it appears to be a pin-up calender with the same model. That and (correct me if I’m wrong) I don’t think there are too many adult calenders for women.

    @45 how would that be sexist though? The girl you mentioned is just hired to help sell the products because sex sells. It’s not like they are saying only men can work in that field, or only supermodels can succeed. As a young adult who goes to the gym quite frequent I still get bummed out seeing men in t.v. commercials who have “perfect” bodies. It’s not sexist just because they look better than me, it just means they will appeal more to women than an overweight man with bad skin.

  47. I can see thru this subject.

  48. First off, I agree with those who say that these are probably digital artistry, as opposed to actual x-rays. Note how dense the shoes are, and how in at least one pic, the skeleton’s toes don’t line up with the model’s toes. (Unless she suffered a horrible injury during the shoot which resulted in exposed bones shoved out of her flesh, but just went on posing. What a trooper!)
    I only have one other thing to say: “I want a doctor; To take your picture; So I can look at you from inside as well.”

  49. Blake

    Don’t you get it Adam?! So clueless! Even tangentially referencing the existence of a female body makes you a filthy, patriarchal objectifier! You’re just a member of the Dominant Class ™ who’s trying to perpetrate your typical, exploitative, Hegelian master-slave dialectical oppression on the subordinate class in order to maintain your male-privileged status in our depraved, genderfascist society! If you so much as THINK of training your exploitative, threatening Male Gaze ™ upon these images, you’re obviously merely perpetuating the subjugation of the already dehumanized female form so you can further your debased heteronormative gender dichotomies on these hapless, skeletalized victims! I can’t believe this has to be explained to you people!!! If you’re not indignantly offended by something all the time and don’t feel a constant need to be sanctimoniously judgmental about trivial things most sane people wouldn’t give a second passing thought to, well then you’re just not looking deep enough!

  50. Brian Too

    The mortality and clinicality of these images is what shines through. The provocative posing and secondary images of soft tissue provide a weird and somewhat disturbing contrast. It’s interesting regardless.

  51. Octavio

    These images remind me the work of José Guadalupe Posada. And consider also these verses:

    La muerte no enseña el cobre,
    tampoco hace distinciones,
    lo mismo se lleva al pobre
    que al rico con sus millones,
    uno va en estuche de oro
    el otro en puros calzones,
    pero pasadito el tiempo
    quedan igual de pelones.

  52. Adam English

    @49 Sounds like my mom when she needs to give us her religious opinion about everything :)

    In all seriousness, I think that these images help to show people what’s beneath that girl. You go “oh snap, she’s just a pile of bones like me.”

  53. I hate to say it, but there is something too crisp about the shapes and the outline. Her flesh does not appear to flatten out where her body contacts the ground, and there is almost no variation in clarity in the body due to tissue density.

    I strongly suspect that these pics are actually CG, possibly using DAZ’s female model Victoria 4, which does have an internal skeleton as an accessory. DAZ Studio, DAZ’s rendering software also has a shader for it that simulates the look of an X-ray. I know, because I have it.

    Also, the boobies do not seem to be affected by gravity. That’s a real give away. The proportions of the skeleton look too perfect as well. Like we used to say in animation class, it is often the flaws that make a drawing look more natural, and these pics look too perfect to be natural.

    Anyway, I am pretty sure these pics are CG and not real scans.

  54. Calli Arcale

    A couple of commenters asked — how much radiation did she experience? Some even suggested it might be her lifetime maximum. Even if these are real x-rays, then no, 12 full-body scans are not the lifetime maximum. More to the point, though: why assume these are all the same woman? Most pinup calendars show several models. I see no reason to assume this would be any different, especially as it would let them spread the radiation out over several models.

    The poses are a bit suspicious for x-rays. The entire body is in focus, even in images where different portions should be significantly different distances away from the film. That’s in addition to the other “fake” clues pointed out above. I can buy the shoes (finding radio-opaque shoes can’t be that difficult; it’s entirely unreasonable to assume they are leather) but the rest seems a bit too good. The toes, though — tsk, tsk.

    Still, a clever ad campaign. Even as a woman, I can appreciate this. It’s clever.

  55. Adam English

    I assumed it was the same female because she has the same proportions, and identical breasts, in every picture. Most have the same shoes, too. I think #53 is correct about the flesh, but she may have been a real model for the skeletal part. I was surprised I could see nipples and full dimensions on her legs, ect. She does resemble a Poser model, maybe they super-imposed a CG female over a real skeletal scan.

  56. Don

    RE: Real versus fake. I was thinking real combined with digital artistry. I am not an expert, but multiple exposures designed to capture different kinds of detail that were later combined to get the final result. Much like many astronomical pictures that combine many exposures at different wavelengths or even from completely different telescopes (Chandra, Hubble, Spitzer…). It would explain the toes sticking out of the skin in that the good skeleton shot has a slightly different position that the good skin shot.

  57. Kevin F.

    Sorry, women are only hot at the skin and personality levels IMHO. This is a little too much for hawtness. Nicely artistic, though.

  58. Messier Tidy Upper

    “And I don’t mean sexy, I mean racy. Sexy is one thing, but racy implies a bit of a wink-wink, a little bit of naughtiness. If you find these sexy, that’s your business, and I have no bone to pick with you. But seriously, would someone consider these to be racy pictures?”

    Racy? No. Spooky -yes.

    It’s got to be a parody of a pinup calendar right?

    I agree with Kevin F. about it being artistic – it’d be a good Halloween costume and I’d even say its fascinating in a creepy kind of way. But neither sexy nor racy. Sinister and/or grotesque are more the words that spring to mind.

    No disrespect to the model though – I’m she she looks much better than this picture in the flesh! ;-)

  59. Ala'a

    CooL! I just found my new desktop backgrounds :-D

  60. ggremlin

    Imagine if those X-ray glasses had actually worked, this is the type of image you would had gotten and a new fetish is born.

  61. Heather

    Personally, I think they’re hilarious! You want to see it all? OK, you can see it all! And guess what? You don’t know *anything* about her. ;-) Especially love the feet in the heels. So, racy? I say yes, for giving us something different to think about.

  62. Ian

    They’re satirising pornography and that’s not a bad thing. Neither is stimulating debate, so they’re definitely art.

  63. Bee

    Haha, I like that :) I’ll buy that thing, hang it up in my office and see what my colleagues think ;) I find them neither sexy nor racy though. But then, I’m straight. In any case, seriously, the women have no hair and lips and all, isn’t that off-turning?

  64. theMark

    Re: Real vs. Fake – I call “fake”. Why? Because I’ve used that effect, too, albeit not for Pin-up design ;) It’s a 3D computer model with copiously applied Fresnel shader (an effect that varies transparency depending on the surface angle towards the camera). E.g.: the security gate x-ray effect in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall.

  65. Zixinus

    My first thought: dude, I can totally use those for studying human anatomy for my drawings! And they are what I want to learn drawing for: pin-ups of women!

  66. GregB

    As to whether it’s fake or real, there’s a clue in the credits-

    Illustrator/CGI: Carsten Mainz

  67. I like them, and think that makes them all the more offensive. At least with a real image I can claim I think she looks kind, or caring, or decisive, or ambitious, while these are entirely woman as a fantasy object.

  68. Zucchi

    Sexism is the belief that one sex is superior to another. I don’t see how that’s relevant in any way to this subject.

  69. Grand Lunar

    I can’t help but think this; she’s been struck by a Dalek ray!

    Now there’s some geek-ness for you. ;)

  70. DW

    Wow, Blake. It must be great to be a man and never have had to give sexism and/or objectification a passing thought just because it doesn’t apply to you. Great work trivializing subjects that you don’t deem important enough. Thanks for playing!

  71. Naomi

    I’m not sure about racy, but these are definitely good art references! (To get realistic poses, it’s good to draw a basic ‘skeleton’ before drawing the shapes of the flesh – this gives you a really good look at, well, both.)

    I might try some pin-up art using the April image as a reference.

  72. Lacy

    Why am I reminded of the character Clarissa MacDougall from “Galactic Patrol” by Doc E.E Smith?

  73. Nigel Depledge

    Is it racy?

    Nope.

    Would it matter if it were?

    Well, that depends on your local culture. The fact that you have agonised about this, Phil, illustrates how up-tight and prudish we Brits and you Yanks are when compared with, say, most of the cultures of Western Europe. Go to France, Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands and you may find that most people are far more relaxed about and openly appreciative of “racy” images than we are.

    Beauty doesn’t have to imply sexuality. Sexiness doesn’t imply objectification, nor sexism.

  74. Lars

    Blake #49 wins the thread. DW #69 loses it. And yes, of course I say that only because I’m a run-of-the-mill priviliged abusive male and DW probably is a run-of-the-mill oppressed powerless female. So trample trample, sucker. As you see, you still have a lot of work ahead of you, before us males are domesticated enough to behave, react, think and feel like we’re supposed to. That is, if you are able to condition us from down there underneath our oppressing heels. Oh, the hopelessness.

  75. shawmutt

    I can tell it’s a female because, as everyone knows, males have one less rib ;-)

  76. Kris

    “Even if these are real x-rays, then no, 12 full-body scans are not the lifetime maximum”

    Except I would say that a photographer needs to take several shots to get one that is publishable. So we’re talking about 100 scans. THAT is why it would be a killer.

    PS. This discussion is incomplete without mentioning another classic — an Ignobel winning paper: Shultz et.al., BMJ 1999;319:1596-1600. (No, I will not give the title. Look it up).

  77. semi

    I think these are CGI. I also think Nick Veasey’s photos are heavily CGI’d as well. There are too many anomalies in the photos to take them as pure radiographs. The densities are all wrong. Speaking as a photographer, I wish photographers would be honest about their process instead of fudging stuff in order to get links or column inches.

  78. Le Moustier

    I think the pictures are lame. They’re not clever, because as others have said, sex sells, so putting a naked woman in as part of your product advertising is not original. Especially if they’re not even real examples of what your product produces (i.e. if the CGI/enhanced aspect is true).
    It’s therefore just a cheap attention grab aimed primarily at male customers, and I’m afraid, yes it buys into the idea of women as a sexualised class, otherwise where are the male models?
    Phil’s comment:
    “If it weren’t for the shoes and the poses, in most of these pictures you’d be hard-pressed to know if it were a man or a woman modeling!”
    underlines my point, as only women have special classes of shoes that exist purely to make them ‘sexier’ to men despite as noted, causing pain and deformation of the feet, and the fact they are wearing such things places it firmly within the “supposed to be recognised as sexy” category. Furthermore, the fact that a particular type of pose can suggest if an x-rayed skeleton is female, stems from the graphic language of bodily objectification- think about why male models aren’t usually posed in these ways.
    So, no, I don’t like them. People of all sexes/genders could have been posed in athletic ways which would have been much more interesting and a celebration of human beauty rather than just sleazy.

    Also, Lars and Blake are beyond pathetic in their parody of a real social oppression that half the population lives with. Do they think it’s funny how women earn around 25% less than men, or is that made up/whinging about nothing too?

  79. Yotebeth

    As a young college woman, my question is, why are the pinups of only girls? Its not fair to imply that a. only women should be pinups
    b. The only people that this company is catering to are men

    I mean, at least locally a good number of our radiologist are women.
    I like the idea, obviously totally fake, but I don’t like the single-mindedness of it.

    Gah.

  80. Madame Furie

    I hear you about the foot problems – I was forced to stop wearing heels nearly two years ago after a scan discovered permanent joint problems in my left big toe joint .. the result of years and years of high-heeled abuse.
    (I still wish I could wear them).

  81. Mike

    You ladies got a problem with naked women in paintings too, by any chance?

  82. I find them a brilliant parody of a tired art form. Given that it’s a parody, it was necessary to imitate certain aspects of the original form so that we’d know what it was parodying. The shoes are awesome and make a great point about what sexy shoes do to sexy feet. (ouch!) If I could do one thing for all the women of the world, I would make them all feel pretty/sexy/classy/whatever in comfortable shoes.

    As to racy — yes. In much the same way an illustration of the same body parts in a textbook would be. The suggestive posing also tilts it that way. Juxtaposed as it is with a symbol of mortality (you’re not supposed to see people’s bones, and that sends it straight into corpse-fear territory) the overall effect is disturbing rather than titillating, but you can still see her nipples.

    Also, plastic classroom skeletons used to give me nightmares.

    So I think it’s safe to put it in “suitable only for adults” land.

    #80: Pinups are girls for reasons of economic viability. Naked men aren’t sexy (culture usually treats them as funny.) Naked women are. Blame the culture, blame the cortex, it doesn’t matter, Playgirl’s circulation is much less than Playboy’s, and is mostly male. If we want to level the scales, we have to somehow convince guys that they don’t want to look at women (and good luck there) or women that they do want to look at men (and you’ll have about as much luck there.)

  83. idlemind

    Why, of course there are male pinups. I think Phil is familiar with the phenomenon.

  84. Nigel Depledge

    Le Moustier (79) said:

    It’s therefore just a cheap attention grab aimed primarily at male customers, and I’m afraid, yes it buys into the idea of women as a sexualised class, otherwise where are the male models?

    Way to impose your own viewpoint on everyone else.

    Maybe the artist just finds male outlines ugly. Who knows? Certainly not you or I.

    Just because you see these images in one particular way does not mean that everyone else sees them in the same way, nor experiences the same reaction to them.

    Phil’s comment:
    “If it weren’t for the shoes and the poses, in most of these pictures you’d be hard-pressed to know if it were a man or a woman modeling!”
    underlines my point, as only women have special classes of shoes that exist purely to make them ’sexier’ to men despite as noted, causing pain and deformation of the feet, and the fact they are wearing such things places it firmly within the “supposed to be recognised as sexy” category.

    Have you ever actually spoken to any women who wear high heels about why they choose to wear them?

    If you did take the trouble to do so, you may find that they make that choice for reasons of their own, and that “being more appealing to men” might only rank as the 4th or 5th most widespread reason. I’m not trying to claim that it’s not a reason at all, but you seem to have no basis for claiming it is the only reason.

    Furthermore, the fact that a particular type of pose can suggest if an x-rayed skeleton is female, stems from the graphic language of bodily objectification- think about why male models aren’t usually posed in these ways.

    Well, duh, maybe that’s ‘cos what is sexy for a female figure just isn’t for a male figure. You seem to have started from the conclusion that any sexy image is instantly and perforce objectifying rather than trying to understand either the subject’s or the artist’s perspective.

    So, no, I don’t like them. People of all sexes/genders could have been posed in athletic ways which would have been much more interesting and a celebration of human beauty rather than just sleazy.

    The sleaze is in your mind, and in your conditioned cultural responses, not in the pictures. Your judgement tells me more about you than it does about the pictures.

    Also, Lars and Blake are beyond pathetic in their parody of a real social oppression that half the population lives with. Do they think it’s funny how women earn around 25% less than men, or is that made up/whinging about nothing too?

    I know that glass ceilings exist, and I know that certain industries have an appalling attitude to women. This is nothing to do with individual biases, it is an ingrained culture within those industries. Changing people’s cultural responses and attitudes takes time. While progress is being made in many areas, it is perhaps too slow and it is certainly not universal.

    However, there are many women (certainly in much of western Europe) who do have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. So you are grossly overstating the case to claim that they all live under “social oppression”. There are even one or two industries where women can earn far more than their male colleagues for doing essentially the same job.

  85. Nigel Depledge

    JediBear (83) said:

    So I think it’s safe to put it in “suitable only for adults” land.

    I disagree with this in two ways. First, I don’t think this is particularly sexy or racy. Second, even assuming for the sake of argument that it is sexy or racy, by hiding sexy imagery away, you add the tone of illicitness : the act of hiding it or of labelling it “adults only” makes it sound more dirty than it is. What aspects of this image make it unsutable for youger viewers?

    #80: Pinups are girls for reasons of economic viability. Naked men aren’t sexy (culture usually treats them as funny.) Naked women are. Blame the culture, blame the cortex, it doesn’t matter, Playgirl’s circulation is much less than Playboy’s, and is mostly male. If we want to level the scales, we have to somehow convince guys that they don’t want to look at women (and good luck there) or women that they do want to look at men (and you’ll have about as much luck there.)

    I agree totally with this.

  86. Scott

    How sad. These poor ladies were bombarded with massive amounts of X-ray radiation likely mutating their cellular structure and weakening their systems. All for some stupid ad campaign no less.

  87. P Hamm

    My husband said, “Oooo, I’d like to jump her bones!” tsk tsk tsk. Good think I’m secure!!

  88. TomServothePervo

    Now that is some bare-bones pornography!

  89. Rebekah

    Interesting. From an artists point of view this is such great work, but probably not so good for the women exposed to radiation. I think that it may have been more effective as just the bones though. Just my opinion…

  90. Would the prototypical plastic shoe used in sleazy porn shots show up like that on an x-ray? Where are the radiologists in the audience?

  91. mike burkhart

    In case anyone forgot Halloween is in October not
    June why not post this then? Then I’m in the mood to see skeletons ,I know I hang a lot of them up along with ghosts and other creatures of the night.

  92. Blargh

    It is sexist:

    “Put a hot nekkid woman on there, *everyone* loves that! Women themselves? Well, why would a *woman* care about high-resolution medical displays anyway? What, lady doctors? Next I suppose you’ll want to let them drive cars, haw, haw!”

    “Sex sells” = “sexist” the vast majority of the time in the real world. I’ll agree that using sex to sell goods isn’t linked to sexism when I see pictures of a hot naked dude being used to sell medical display screens. It might make sense if you’re selling a product targeted *only* at males. But in this case, there’s no way to argue that without making more sexist statements.

    Incidentally, if that was a naked man on there instead of a woman, I wonder whether there’d still be a blog post here discussing just how much sex appeal the images have… Probably not. What makes these images even potentially “racy”? #1: They show a woman, and not a man. If the same subtle hints were used to suggest a male body, the reaction (in general, not in this blog post specifically) would likely be very different. And if you don’t think automatically equating female bodies, but not male bodies, with sexuality is sexist… Then I really don’t know.

  93. james

    I really liked these because they made me think about them in a dozen different ways, and I like things that make me think.

    On a purely taste level the actual poses are a bit on the ugly side, like BA I like the style of the WW2 pin-up.

    However the original idea made me laugh, then made me think about mortality, then made me think about squeamishness, about taboo’s, and about how different people would perceive it. On the whole, very, very thought provoking.

    Thank-you

  94. Damon

    I don’t care if they’re sexy or racy, they’re just cool.

  95. WhitedogRT

    Okay, lets take a look at this from an actual professional’s opinion. Just a little background, I am a graduate of an accredited bachelor’s degree program of the radiologic sciences with a specialization in advanced radiation physics and magnetic resonance imaging, with seven years working in the field as a diagostic radiologic technologist. So lets look closely at this.

    First – The stilettos are 100% plausible and probable. I spent many long nights on the graveyard shift during which I would become bored and, alongside my fellow CT technologist, would radiograph different inanimate objects. I can say after experience of imaging 4 different shoes, two generic New Balance sneakers, Adidas G2s and Nike Shox, that the materials used in shoes are alot more radioopaque than many of you realize. The sole of every shoe appeared largely more radioopaque than bone would at the exact same technique. Even though bone is made of a much more dense material than the general sneaker sole, bone has many porous cavities while the sole of a shoe is a solid, thick piece of rubber or leather. The ultra thick buttom of stilettos would definitely appear as a very radioopaque density, just as it does in these images.

    Next – The perspective is also 100% true. It is true that plain film radiography appears as a single plane/flat image. However, it is also true that plain film radiography demonstrates magnification and a number of other geometric effects that would, indeed, mimic a three dimensional feel if a large portion of the body was imaged to show these differences in magnification. I would ask for a minute that you look at the above image and view the Tibia (the larger bone in her lower leg). It is obvious that the reason the leg appears to go backwards is not because it appears to be in a different plane but because it shrinks as it continues “towards the back” of the image. This is a proven, accepted and fundamental part of radiographic imaging. Radiation behaves exactly like light (as it is partially an energy on the electromagnetic spectrum). Think of a shadow, things closer to the light source and further from the projecting surface create larger, more distorted shadows. This leads me to my next observation.

    The body could indeed be radiographed all at the same time as far as distortion and geometric factors are concerned. The maximum distance one can create a diagnostic image on a standard unit is 96 inches or 8 feet. However, most of the parts of the body are generally radiographed at 40 inches to magnify certain structures while keeping other structures true to form. However, by backing up to 96 inches, you can minimize distortion across the entire image. Lets go back to the light analogy. The closer you get to a light source, and subsequently the further you move away from the projected surface, the more magnified and distorted your shadow becomes. This is exactly the same with radiography. If this model was close enough to the film (within about a foot, assuming an eight foot distance) very little distortion would occur.

    Ok, lets go on to the radiation dose next. First off, I’d like to say, you should never ever get an x-ray for recreation or for something such as this, it is silly and idiotic. Saying that, I would also like to say that this model only probably obtained about the radiation exposure of a single pelvis x-ray, which is not even remotely close to the YEARLY maximum dose limit, noless the maximum LIFETIME dose limit. A single pelvis exposure results in approximately a 25 mRem dose. The yearly maximum dose limit is 5 Rem, which translates to 5000 mRem. The dose per exposure to this model is very minimal. I can honestly tell you I’ve averaged more than 25 mRem monthly for the past 7 years just through occupational exposure.

    Lastly, I’d like to address something not brought up here, but obviously an issue known to radiologic technologists. Could a full body image of a human body be taken with such bony detail through a single exposure due to varying techniques for different body parts? After careful consideration and examination, I’d have to say yes. The amount of radiation is determined by kVp (kilovolts peak) and mAs (milliamperes per second). For smaller extremities such as hands and feet, low techniques around 58 kVp and 4mAs would be used. While larger bony parts such as the pelvis, femurs, humeri, and skull would use higher techniques, around 76kVp and 32 mAs. While other parts still, such as the lungs require higher techniques still, between 85-110 kVp and 20-80 mAs. After examining the images, if these are real, the radiographer must have used something around the technique used for a pelvis, 78kVp and 32mAs. It’s evident because theres not nearly as much detail in the lungs, the ribs (which arent very dense) as well as the fibulae and feet are not very detailed. The only thing that does make me question is the abdominal organs. The density in the abdominal region should be much greater as it requires a higher technique to penetrate all of these structures adequately and an even higher technique to make them disappear entirely. However, with such a high technique I would expect the less dense structures to be even more invisible.

    All in all, from my professional opinion, I believe these images are indeed plausible and would not create a particularly hazardous dose in the models. Every opposition posed against their validity is easily countered by knowledge of how radiation physics work. The only thing that makes me remain slightly skeptical is the abdominal tissue, but this is going by the results from a standard radiographic unit, while these images could be made by utilizing a more advanced, efficient and effective unit.

    DISCLAIMER: Although the radiation dose to these models would be very minimal, radiation does not act entirely in a linear fashion where higher dose results in more risk. Every radiation exposure results in a minimal risk due to the non-linear part of radiation effects. Even a single finger x-ray has the potential to have a radioactive ion interact with a water molecule (creating a free radical) or interacting directly with DNA, altering the code. While this is very rare, it is important to note as it is imperative to not undergo radiation exposure “for fun.” While these are amazing images if real, as a radiologic technologist, I must note that I neither support nor condone using radiation for any use other than diagnostic.

  96. Philman

    Adds a whole new meaning to ‘I’d really like to jump your bones’

  97. Robert Carnegie

    I don’t want to sound stupid and assume that these are real X-ray images if they aren’t, but, (1) if you don’t want a clinical-quality image then presumably way less radiation will do the job, and, (2) is it even possible to capture an image using the natural radiation that zips into and through our bodies all the time anyway? (A neutrinograph? Okay, maybe not…)

  98. Rystefn

    I like them. It’s an interesting and different take on displaying the human form, relevant to the product being advertised, and in the context of a standard and well-known art form. Also: cool as Hell.

  99. nomuse

    Lacey…only you.

    Why am I reminded of the character Clarissa MacDougall from “Galactic Patrol” by Doc E.E Smith?”

    Do I take it that is also the source of your nickname?

    (“But what a skeleton! What a skeleton!”)

  100. wifiwaves

    Well, one thing is for certain. This article has exposed a lot of whiners in the world.

    Lighten up, you’ll live longer.

  101. CortxVortx

    Looks like Kreeshkra. Fafhrd would approve

  102. CortxVortx

    “Look at the bones!” — Tim the Enchanter

    Too many people here are missing the gracefulness of the human skeleton.

  103. Nigel Depledge

    @ 87, 90 & 92 –

    As has been answered in preceding comments, this is certainly not an actual X-ray image. The biggest clue is in the term “CGI”.

  104. Nigel Depledge

    Blargh (94) said:

    “Sex sells” = “sexist” the vast majority of the time in the real world. I’ll agree that using sex to sell goods isn’t linked to sexism when I see pictures of a hot naked dude being used to sell medical display screens. It might make sense if you’re selling a product targeted *only* at males. But in this case, there’s no way to argue that without making more sexist statements.

    So please explain to the rest of us how sexy images of women are used successfully to sell (for instance) fake tan to women, and why this is sexist.

  105. Nigel Depledge

    OK, I’m gonna go into a bit more detail here too :

    Blargh (94) said:

    I’ll agree that using sex to sell goods isn’t linked to sexism when I see pictures of a hot naked dude being used to sell medical display screens.

    It is empirically verifiable that sexy pics of women sell stuff. Sexy pics of men also sell stuff, but it makes a substantially smaller difference to sales figures.

    The reason why this works could be any one of several factors (or a combination of several factors). You are assuming that the reason it works on you is the same reason it works on everyone else, and that is simply an invalid extrapolation.

    Ultimately, advertising agencies use sexy pictures to sell stuff because this method has been proven to improve sales. If that is sexist, then you might as well simply ban the entire advertising industry.

    It might make sense if you’re selling a product targeted *only* at males.

    No, it doesn’t. Sexy pics of women also sell stuff to women. To pluck an example from the air, why else do they have that sexy woman roller-skating in the tampon adverts? Are you going to claim that women’s boyfriends and husbands are induced to go out and buy tampons for their other half? No, I don’t think so.

    So, what does it mean? How come sexy pics of women sell stuff to women (and it’s a sufficiently widespread phenomenon that it can only apply to both straight and gay women, so the argument that it works only on homosexual women would not be valid)? If using sexy images of women to sell stuff is sexist and objectifying, how does it work selling stuff to other women?

    Are you going to claim that most women are complicit in the objectification and sexism? Because if you are, you’d better have some hard evidence to back it up with.

    Or maybe, just maybe, a lot of women like to feel that they are sexy, not merely to please men, but to please themselves.

    But in this case, there’s no way to argue that without making more sexist statements.

    Oh, hang on a sec, I think I just proved you wrong.

  106. jon

    This is the definition of a bad idea.

  107. 1>This is a transparent subject. Either you choose to get all hot and bothered, or you don’t.
    Control your selves.
    2>Yes # 1 was a play on words.
    3> So #22, you feel like reproducing like a rabbit before hawk swoops down and grabs you?

    music.” I see your true colors shining though..”
    4> I don’t recall anyone mentioning if the model was of one skin tone or another. Since half of you are so concerned with its a chick OMG lets get all hormonal and call it skellyporn. Why not then try and pick off the color of the model? Toss in the race card as well????? Consider the pot stirred.

  108. Blargh

    @ Nigel Depledge: Like other media, advertising does not merely passively react to culture, but also helps shape it. The way consumers react to advertising portraying men and women is shaped by their thoughts and feelings about seeing men and women in various situations and contexts; these, in turn, are shaped at least to a great extent by the culture in which these consumers live and were brought up; and advertising forms a part of this culture — just one part, sure, but an important one, and also one that’s inter-connected with other media. You could argue of course that there’s no reason the advertisers themselves should care about any of this in the slightest. But that’s not a reason not to criticise them as I have in this case.

  109. “Pornography masquerading as a combination of science and art. Disgusting and sinful.”

    You’ve gotta be kidding me.

  110. Parsifal Druddle

    How an image of a lone woman, in any transparency, density, or spectrum can be thought of as ‘pornographic’ is truly disturbing. What -=have=- some people let into their birlin’ heids?

    Many thanks to the creator of the images. I find them educational, and science-sexy.

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