A few years ago, David Maisel created a body of work titled "History's Shadow".Here is what he says about it: "History’s Shadow has as its source material x-rays of art objects that date from antiquity through just prior to the invention of photography. The x-rays have been culled from museum conservation archives, re-photographed and re-worked. Through the x-ray process, the artworks of origin become de-contextualized, yet acutely alive and renewed. The series concerns the dual processes and intertwined themes of memory and excavation."
I find this body of work thought-provoking partly because of its simplicity. By specifically choosing to use x-rays of objects that pre-date the invention of photography, Maisel asks us to consider aspects of these objects that it was impossible to "know" without the photographic medium. The x-rays animate these objects in a weirdly magical way. As a viewer, I think about the vision and intent of the humans who created the objects in the first place, as well as wonder what the makers of the x-rays hoped to discover so many years later. It's a wonderful approach to memory and history- two of my favorite subjects.