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Exposing the beauty of deadly disease through medical photography

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hidden beauty
hidden beauty

The complex mechanisms that conspire to attack our bodies often have a beguiling allure that belies their malevolent nature. That's the theme behind Hidden Beauty, a new book of medical photography from Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, both professors at Johns Hopkins University.

"Let me be very clear — in no way do we mean to glorify disease, but it is part of the human condition," said Barker to Hyperallergic. Instead, the project concentrates on the emotions that the diseases can spark when viewed in a context divorced from their malignant origin.

The photography uses a variety of techniques, including scanning electron microscopy and spectral karyotyping, to present the damage wreaked by ailments such as cancer and osteoporosis in an accessible and strangely beautiful way. Photos from Hidden Beauty will be exhibited at Johns Hopkins University until May 31st; the book, meanwhile, is available now.