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Moments of illumination

Photograph manipulation 

Place of Origin

The Netherlands



Inspiration and composition


After seeing the call for the exhibition, Kwee began to think about her research into the patterns of early-stage lung disease. She started by exploring ways of representing her research, and photography was the most natural and obvious medium. The image is a composition of multiple photos stitched together using Adobe Photoshop. ‘With this image I wanted to portray various aspects of my research. I always start with a theme or a story and for this it was exploration and patterns’. The first and most important element for this story was the airways of the lungs, which is the focal point of the entire piece and resembles a typical radiology image. There are several symbolic ideas within this image. First, the black shirt of the model (Kwee’s partner) and dark clouds represent unknown knowledge. Through exploration and research, this unknown knowledge (dark background) slowly becomes illuminated (light subject) by these ‘a-ha moments’ of brilliance, ‘as if being struck by lightning’. A smaller and more technical detail regarding the lightning is that x-rays used for a CT scan can only be created with electrical current. The final symbolic idea in this image is that the posture of the model portrays a sort of uncertainty and discomfort; ‘just like a patient

with (chronic) lung disease can experience’. As for the image itself, the photograph was taken in Kwee’s living room with a white background and the clouds are from a different photo she had taken earlier. The lightning was from a stock photo she found online, and the lungs were created with photographs of gold painted Christmas branches, which she thought had a very similar structure and look to human airways. ‘We also tried several poses. The arms to the side were too static but the arm above, while less simple, was more dramatic’. The images were then layered on top of each other. When asked about how creativity related to her scientific work, Kwee responded, ‘I think creativity is essential for any scientist, for the discovery of new information and ways of doing things, and not just about implementing what you know’. It is an essential part for our job and the bridge between science and art.  By bringing art and science together in this exhibition she believes it could make science more approachable and understandable, especially for patients. 


The artist

About Natascha Kwee

Natascha Kwee is an MD and PhD candidate in Medical Imaging, specializing in thoracic radiology at UMC Utrecht. Her research focuses on exploring abnormalities on CT scans of the lungs to discover potential patterns that could detect early-stage lung disease.  While never considering art as a potential career path, photography and photo editing have always been a hobby and passion of hers since she was a teenager. When asked about the role art may play in her career, Kwee responded, ‘Art and science is who I am; I would really like to find a way to do more of both’. 

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