Fashion, Animal, Sound

The images in Steve Miller’s Fashion, Animal, Sound series are all X-rays. He began experimenting with the technology decades ago because it enabled him to re-invent the notion of a portrait by looking beyond the surface and beneath the flesh, and he later extended it to other life forms and inanimate objects. 

Hearing the Amazon described as the “lungs of the planet,” Miller thought that he could X-ray the flora and fauna of the rainforests to give the world a metaphorical check-up. The series also features his X-rays printed on surfboards, an iconic symbol of Brazilian culture, thus creating a sort of eco-trophy to replace the classic taxidermy trophy. 

Early in his career, Miller became fascinated with the origins of life and the ways in which such fundamental and unseen realities could be translated into art. In the 1980s, he began creating portraits using medical imaging technology. In 1993, he became one of the first artists to create a portrait using genetic code. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences mounted his exhibition Crossing the Line, featuring paintings based on his collaboration with neurobiologist Rod MacKinnon, who studied the movement of ions across cell membranes. Miller has presented more than 30 solo exhibitions at major venues in the United States, China, France, and Germany. 

—Alana Quinn

Follow Steve Miller on Instagram @stevemillerdotcom and visit and

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Images courtesy Robin Rice Gallery, New York, NY.

Cite this Article

Miller, Steve. “Fashion, Animal, Sound.” Issues in Science and Technology 33, no. 2 (Winter 2017).

Vol. XXXIII, No. 2, Winter 2017