Versuche über Photographie mittelst der Röntgen'schen Strahlen

Josef Maria Eder Austrian
Eduard Valenta Austrian

Not on view

Eder was the director of an institute for graphic processes and the author of an early history of photography. With the photochemist Valenta, he produced a portfolio in January 1896, less than a month after Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen published his discovery of X-rays. Eder and Valenta’s volume, from which this plate derives, demonstrated the X-ray’s magical ability to reveal the hidden structure of living things. Human hands and feet, fish, frogs, a snake, a chameleon, a lizard, a rat, and a newborn rabbit are all presented in exquisitely printed photo-gravures, as are carved cameos and an assortment of natural materials. In an era when photography’s ability to accurately depict the visible world had become commonplace, this newfound capacity to record the invisible opened up a host of possibilities, both scientific and aesthetic. The careful compositions and shocking appearance of these “Experiments in Photography” link them to the previous century’s tradition of natural-history illustration and point toward the experiments of New Vision photographers in the 1910s and 1920s.

Versuche über Photographie mittelst der Röntgen'schen Strahlen, Josef Maria Eder (Austrian, Krems an der Donau, 1855–1944 Kitzbühel) and, Photogravures

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.

Portfolio cover