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X-ray plants - Tor G. Nitzelius


Amazing fine art prints of X-ray* photographs of plants, originally created by Tor G. Nitzelius – world-renowned dendrologist, gardener and prefect at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden – in collaboration with Lennart Nilsson, among others. Printed on matte, 210-gram Hahnemühle photo paper with archival pigment ink.


These beautiful, unique X-ray photographs of plants have a remarkable history. Originally, they were X-ray negatives inside of old brown envelopes that I found at an auction; I had no idea what they were. After some research, I learned quite a lot about these mysterious X-rays of flowers and plants. It turned out that their existence was completely unknown, except by a small group of people at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden. Here is the story:


In the early 60s, Tor G. Nitzelius, a world-renowned dendrologist, gardener and prefect at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, took some experimental X-ray photographs of plants at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg with some coworkers, including world-famous photographer Lennart Nilsson. Nitzelius was curious about the inner soul of the plants. Was it possible to photograph their insides, just like taking an X-ray of human bones? He struggled a great deal, but in the end, the entire project resulted in over 500 X-ray images.


Tor G. Nitzelius was born in 1914, and his interest in plants developed already as a teenager. He became an attendant and tree specialist at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, where he created, among other things, the famous and highly popular Japanese garden.


In the mid-60s, he created the Garden of Memories in a small mountain region in southern Sweden. It contains hundreds of trees, primarily oak and deciduous trees. Tor G. Nitzelius was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg in 1992 and has written several articles on the use of plants in parks and gardens.


It is said that Tor G. Nitzelius had an amazing, intuitive ability to recognize which plants were suitable for gardening while traveling the world to collect seeds. If you take a walk through the Japanese garden at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, you will understand that he had an extraordinary talent.


*An X-ray device works like a camera, but unlike a regular camera where visible light exposes the film, an X-ray has a higher energy level and can penetrate different materials. Because the X-rays are so big, the sharpness is excellent.



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