In Brief

Thomas Mailaender uses UV rays to develop portraits on his subjects' skin

The human body has long been one of the most popular canvases for artists. Whether it’s by way of cultural tradition or as a mode of self-expression, we draw on the body just as much as we admire it for its beauty. French artist Thomas Mailaender develops this into a painful artistic statement by using UV rays to develop photographs onto his models’ bare skin. The sunburned photographs serve as a stark reminder of humankind’s vulnerability. 

His process first appeared live in a visual performance conducted by Mailaender, which was then translated into his book, Illustrated People. The images used were taken from The Archive of Modern Conflict, a London-based organization that collects material (mostly photographs) relating to the history of war in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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